The Latvian IT Cluster represents Latvian IT companies and other stakeholders. It has received the Silver European Cluster Excellence Label and in 2018.
The LITC is the first cluster in Latvia which started its initial activity in 2001 and was officially established in 2007. The LITC stakeholders are Latvian IT companies, as well as public bodies, industry associations, other clusters and more, because it operates according triple-helix principle. The LITC vision is to be the go-to partner in digitalisation projects, playing a major role in increasing the competitiveness of Latvian companies on the global markets. The unique feature of the Latvian IT Cluster is the interaction between its innovative and export-oriented member enterprises, which are at the same time market competitors. The LITC members have understood that they will be able to compete successfully on the global scale only if they will unite forces. They have started a cooperation in such specific areas as implementing joint standards for project management and quality assurance; establishing a joint model of competences; acknowledging potentially available human resources for their efficient exploitation in joint projects; strategic planning and market research; marketing activities for promoting the Latvian IT sector in target markets; coordination of cooperation with potential clients; joint activities for attracting potential customers, etc. Since 2018 LITC started to operate as the Digital Innovation Hub offering access to cross-industry and technological expertise, such as market insights, human capital growth, new technology trends, etc.
Until 2012 the only funding of the Cluster was provided by its members. Since 2012 the LITC is co-funded by the ERDF under a specially designed Clusters' Programme and it also actively participates in national, regional and European projects. The LITC is managed by 4 employees and the Board.
Evidence of success
The LITC has grown from 19 to 40 member companies from 2007 to 2018. In 2016, the LITC has been awarded with the Silver European Cluster Excellence Label confirming successful implementation and operation of the cluster initiative. Also, the evidence shows that the LITC enterprises operating in a cluster-specific environment, which improves their innovation capacity, have been more competitive in the long-term than the IT enterprises working outside the Cluster.
Main challenges are related to internal competition among Cluster’s members, which can slow down the development and result in lost opportunities, as well as frequent changes in a number and composition of clusters' members; dependence on external funding; strong competitors outside of the Cluster.
Potential for learning or transfer
The LITC is a prime example of what an industry NGO should be – driven by a future oriented industry vision, engaged in dialogue both within the IT industry and beyond, open to experiments and new forms of collaboration. The LITC is the first and the longest standing cluster in Latvia, which has served as a successful role model building a stronger business environment to cluster development across other sectors and industries, as well as promoted support for clusters of Latvia over the past decade. (today we have 18 officially registered clusters in Latvia) The LITC example shows that cluster can boost the long-term competitiveness of its member companies, as well as foster the ICT uptake by enterprises of other sectors and industries. Therefore, it can serve as a good practice to explore and transfer for other regions.
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