What is the role of business clusters in the modern economy?
The modern working and business environment, is changing and because of this, the need for more sophisticated and competitive enterprises has become imperative. This is not a coincidence. Therefore, are made efforts to strengthen business competitiveness through new forms of activities and innovative forms of cooperation. A new form of such an innovative action, are the well known business clusters.
But what are the business clusters actually?
Business clusters are forms of cooperation between enterprises and other organizations (universities, research institutes, professional associations, chambers etc.), which are co-located in a specific geographical area. They are connected by providing interdependent groups of products and / or services. In that way, they promote innovation and competitiveness.
What are the main characteristics of these clusters?
The geographical proximity of the participants.
The companies that are members of a cooperative enterprise formation should be geographically close in order to achieve the direct dissemination of information.
The common objectives among participants.
In order to be successful the cooperation between the members of a cluster, all members should share common goals, to take advantage from the geographical proximity and linkages.
The mutual benefits of cooperation.
The benefits of such a cooperation, cannot be occurred since a medium sized enterprise does not collaborate with others. Some of these benefits, are the sharing of buildings and facilities, the qualified staff and information as well as the knowledge and expertise. Certainly, we need to mention, that the work on a common subject and the geographical proximity is not enough. To achieve the positive results of a business cooperation, it must be achieved first the proper interaction.
The equal participation of stakeholders in clusters.
The relations between business-entities, should be flexible and the participation in cooperative formation equal. It is also important, the existence of a sufficient number of participants and as a result a significant impact on the performance of companies.
The independence of the participants in cooperative formation.
Engaging in a business cooperative formation, does not prevent fair competition among the participating members, and it is not necessary the enterprises to be active in the same business sector. The clusters are neither associations nor mergers of companies.
What are the benefits of penetration in a collaborative formation?
As we have already mentioned, the grouping of businesses, when is done properly and with the right incentives, offer valuable access to specialized labor markets, knowledge and information transfer, access to more suppliers, the power to achieve better economic efficiency and the continuous exchange of expertise, thanks to the interaction between customers and specialist suppliers.
Depending on the needs and scope of business-carriers, there are many different types of clusters. Other networks aim to achieve scale economy (bulk orders and achievement of cost reduction), value added (concentration of competences and expertise towards businesses outside the cluster) or even management of specific territories.
The purpose of the creation of clusters, is to increase the competitive advantage of enterprises and to deal with the increasing demands of modern economic reality. The development of business clusters can stimulate the economy in a great extent.
P.G.A. & E.L.