Innovation is an important cornerstone of competitiveness of businesses, clusters, cities and regions. In a global economy with fast technological developments and shorter product life-cycles the importance of the capacity to innovate and to implement at a fast pace is ever increasing. Innovation can also contribute to coping with important societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition and ageing population. So, for companies, cities, regions and technological clusters focusing on improving innovation output is imperative.
Within Europe a wide variety of (technology) cluster organizations are active together with innovation initiatives aimed at harnessing innovation and economic spin-offs of clusters. This offers a low-threshold innovation infrastructure that is not only accessible to multinationals and major universities but to SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) and applied technological institutes within the region.
BCI supports cities, regions and economic development agencies in developing a strategic approach for the development of the cluster, its innovation performance and creating economic spin-offs. An important tool is BCI’s Cluster Clock. This tool provides insight in the different key factors that authorities can influence to strengthen clusters and dominant economic sectors. General non-cluster specific factors that contribute to the business climate for all economic activities, as well as technology, cluster or sector specific factors are important.
In order to accelerate innovation of businesses and knowledge institutes advanced research facilities are needed. Furthermore, field labs can be used to connect international and national research programs to small and medium sized companies and vice versa in order to accelerate the speed of research valorization. Research facilities and field labs are often not feasible for an individual company alone. That’s why business partners, knowledge institutes and authorities co-operate in creating these facilities. It is important for accelerating regional innovation to develop business plans for shared research facilities and incubator buildings where these facilities are offered. Over the past years, BCI has successfully developed business plans for field labs and research facilities in the fields of agro food, astronomy, big data, nano technology and medical technology.
BCI has a proven track record in supporting cluster organizations. BCI has developed strategic plans for, among others, clusters High Tech, Biobased Economy, Med Tech, Agri & Food and Horticulture. Strengthening businesses, clusters and regions by harnessing their innovation output is one of our core activities.
As a content driven expert active in several sectors of industry and with excellent contacts in the business world, BCI supports cities, regions and clusters in developing, improving and accelerating their innovations and cluster development programs. Starting point is always a strong involvement of businesses, because they are the ones to set the course to which the other parties (government and knowledge institutes) can respond. BCI helps regional clusters enhancing innovation in different stages: from strategy development, identifying opportunities, developing roadmaps and compiling innovation programs to composing project consortia and developing business plans.
BCI has many years of experience in strengthening clusters and innovation with in-depth research, policy advice, development and evaluation of business plans, conducting feasibility studies, innovation brokerage and operational support of cluster organizations.
Cluster supporting activities of BCI:
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The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety, several universities and a variety of companies participating in the Sustainable Food Initiative
Municipality of Vilvoorde, Belgium