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Competitive Industry Clusters are considered a crucial element in driving national competitiveness. Many countries try and ‘seed’ clusters, and plan for them strategically but the reality is that they often grow organically. While there is knowledge on the key factors needed to seed a cluster, and there exists significant research on the drivers and barriers to clusters, it still seems like a hit and miss strategy. Cluster growth can be evaluated by the level of exports, the contribution of these players to the national economy, the IP registered, the new talent and new startups a cluster brings in or facilitates.

Often clusters are mis-identified. There is an assumption that a collection of players in a similar industry is a cluster, but this is not true. Even if they are located close to each other, this proximity could often develop because of real-estate incentives. The real test is inter-dependency, collaboration and healthy competition – how much of knowledge transfer is there between firms, are the supply chains integrated, is there a free movement of talent? As Prof. Michael Porter reiterates “Clusters represent a new way of thinking about national, state, and local economies, and they necessitate new roles for companies, government, and other institutions in enhancing competitiveness.

This toolkit is a set of guidelines that can be used by government entities mandated to create strong business ecosystem within their sectors. It is a tool to strategize investments through the concept of clusters. This tool does not use cluster mapping which requires a high level of granular data to focuses on identifying geographic footprint of a specific cluster category increasing linkages and spillover between existing clusters.
 

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