The aim of the event, "Becoming an ESCA expert for the benchmarking of cluster organizations", was to train experts for the benchmarking of cluster organizations. The training was attended by experts from Slovakia, Spain, France and other EU countries. With the support of the national project Increasing the Innovative Performance of the Slovak Economy (www.inovujme.sk), the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA) received certificates Vladimír Borza, Katarína Ružičková, Renáta Magulová and Lucia Vančo.
In Slovakia, 14 clusters have been certified in the CENTRAMO and ACE projects for a bronze certificate of excellence and one cluster (IT Valley Košice) for a gold certificate. All of these clusters have expired or are ending this year with the validity of their certification. Benchmarking is a basic precondition for cluster analysis and subsequent certification by the European Cluster Analysis Secretariat (ESCA). The Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency, as the only one in Slovakia, currently has experts in this field, which provides the possibility for cluster organizations to certification, re-certification or to a higher degree of excellence certification, what is also one of the objective of the ClusterFY international project (www.interregeurope.eu/ clusterfy) in which the SIEA is a partner.
ESCA Certified Clusters are included in the European clusters database; these clusters have easier access to international projects and contacts across Europe, and increase their creditworthiness on the market. The ESCA certificate is a prerequisite for a certain quality of the cluster, in other words, it is as an important as ISO certification.