Developing and sustaining the new wave of business clusters


1. Identify areas of old industry in an interesting area with some architectural/urban design qualities.

2. Identify industrial estates with a mix of businesses but some juxtaposition of similar sectors or manufacturing/service bias.

3. Identify secondary retail zones where a comprehensive regeneration zone could bring mixed live/work/retail usage.

4. Isolate key measures that might achieve a disproportionate difference, eg:-

  • limited site clearance
  • signage
  • change of usage for one building
  • split up of a large, redundant building
  • an ESF/ERDF project
  • a key champion business with some history of entrepreneurship, urban heritage interest etc

5. List businesses that have reached the 'growth ceiling' in their current site.

6. Discuss in a forum with property owners, agents and key businesses the potential for expansion, agglomeration with limited investment.

7. Assess recent planning applications, crime statistics, nuisance areas for "joined up" action.

8. Identify well-run agencies or projects in your area where an expansion of premises or type of activity could intensify their enthusiasm, eg:-

  • a good Groundwork
  • a social entrepreneur
  • a well-run Enterprise Centre
  • a keen property developer
  • a committed employer

9. Discuss with other colleagues and organisations examples of good practice or specifically interesting project design/implementation. There are probably no new ideas just a case of the finesse of existing ideas.

10. Have you got a staff member who can really get excited about the concept of cluster development and engage a longitudinal study? Test the person by asking them to summarise the Beccatini studies in Italy.

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