SIEA actively promotes awareness of cluster importance for national economy, facilitates dialogue between penta helix stakeholders and covers ESCA certificates.
In 2018, Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA) established the so called Cluster Stakeholder Working Group (CSWG) with the primary aim to create a regular platform for sharing information among clusters and Penta helix stakeholders. IE project ClusterFY and its tasks have been the first reason in setting up the platform that later became a place of interaction among various groups. CSWG currently consists of several clusters, umbrella organization Union of Slovak Clusters, business support organizations and Ministry of Economy. As of today, the meetings are regular with growing number of participating stakeholders and SIEA is providing not only facilitation but also infrastructure.
Recent meetings have been fully dedicated to better shaping the current cluster policies and preparing the policies that would reflect the real needs of clusters.
SIEA is also active in its own expert publication activity in the field of innovations, internationalization, networking, cluster assessment and education, provides expert presentations, and participates in international cluster projects. These activities are supporting its competence growth and professionalization in the field of cluster policies.
Since 2011, SIEA has started very actively promoting ESCA certification among the Slovak clusters as a tool for further improvement of the management of cluster organizations. With new ERDF financed national project SIEA aims to certify or recertify over 25 clusters until 2023.
The total eligible expenses for the implementation of project activities amount to EUR 75.000 – dedicated to cluster certification costs and 65.000 in the form of labor costs for a person dealing with the process of certification and CSWG organization.
Evidence of success
With more than 6 organised CSWGs, the vision of creating a platform for regular experience, opinion and idea sharing got strong acceptance of stakeholders of Triple/Penta helix. CSWGs were the main inspiration and Launchpad for the regional workshops held within INNO INDUSTRY. SIEA also helped to obtain ESCA certificate to 11 clusters in 2019 and has published or participated with their expert input in 12 cluster focused publications.
Potential for learning or transfer
Like other 2 best practices proposed by SBA in the INNO INDUSTRY project, SIEA’s activities in the cluster support domain were selected by the project partners as most interesting for learning and possible transfer. The main reasons behind it may be the weaknesses and threats commonly identified by many project partners in their regional SWOT analyses that include lack of awareness of importance of clusters and their activities for performing economies, lack of organised cluster support from government and lack of communication & interaction between the main players as far as clusters’ topics are concerned. Although SIEA is a business support organisation, it aims to tackle these issues through its cluster dedicated activities.