Business Garden (BG) in rural area turned a severe decline into a successful restructuring and new growth by incorporating a new operating model.
Stryn BG (estab. 2002) found itself in a difficult economic situation. To survive, office space was leased to random businesses rather than to create a growth oriented environment with cross-over competencies and knowledge sharing. As a result, the BG became less attractive for its target group, entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Solution: Co-located enterprises invited the BG to physically move in together with them. Operational model: Daily manager and a project manager moved in, leaving an administrative associate back to serve the companies in the “old” BG. The new measure was called (Stryn) TechHub and consists of both co-located and other companies from independent industries, but with the same need of facilitation services to better secure competitiveness in the future.
The managers wanted to attract suppliers, customers, R&D-environments/-actors, collaborators and other closer the cluster’s own innovation processes, in an organized way, both permanently and from project to project. The idea is that you can work more effectively from idea through the different development phases to a market ready product or service. Today the BG delivers capacity building measures of different kind, network-activities, project- and process management or support, facilitating strategy processes, different theme meetings and in general securing that more activity happen closer to the TechHub-companies than before.
The TechHub-companies are buying our services like from any other supplier, however, we are able to support this to a certain extent through a governmental innovation- and cluster support program that we are operating.
It is crucial to have a coordinator. Otherwise there’s a risk it will crumble.
Evidence of success
- Network membership of relevant ventures more than doubled after the restructuring
- 10 network meetings the last year with different themes with an average of 30 actors joining from public and private organizations
- Leaders from network members gather for a weekly meeting updating each other and sharing knowledge
- The effort has been copied by another local network, Green Innovation Network, and recognized by others
- The activity has led to several new supplier-customer-relation
It is very important to use enough time and emphasize anchoring of the measure.
We were perceptive about this, but still we could use even more resources on that.
Potential for learning or transfer
What we have discovered is that even companies from independent industries in many ways face the same challenges, and that these can be solved by the BG as facilitating resource. The key to our success was through a thorough study of clusters and networks in our surroundings, get in touch with them and try to learn their needs.