EFFORT Project


Clustering can be an effective strategy for small and medium size enterprises (SME)to gain competitive advantages through sharing of information, supply chain and other resources, developing innovation in product, service and production processes. Clusters traditionally have been geographically defined.

To prosper in our rapidly changing global economy, the next generation of clustering should be dynamic and extended. A dynamic business or cluster is able to “integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competencies to address rapidly changing environments”, while “extended” refers to cooperation across regional or international boundaries.

The EFFORT project is aimed at studying the behaviour, governance, sustainability and constituency drivers of dynamic cross-border and cross-regional clusters of SMEs to improve their ability to access the global market, facilitating collaborative production of products and services, as well as responding to procurement contracts of public or private organisations. The tasks of the project develop in several work packages focusing on different aspects of the overall objective.

Among the first tasks to be tackled are the identification and development of key definitions, methodologies and overall framework for carrying out the project. Data regarding typologies of existing clusters will be gathered and analysed to provide evidence of barriers and enablers, governance policy, capabilities and capacities.

EFFORT will investigate the legal framework and policy activities needed to address the setup of the innovation ecosystem governance structure. Key issues have to do with regulation/policy, legal framework, governance mechanisms and technological conditions that can function as the enabling framework for completing the Internal Market and to complement the vision of the innovation ecosystem objective.

Another set of tasks involves studying and defining a multidisciplinary perspective on the current status and future possibilities of cross-border and cross-regional “dynamic and extended SME clustering” based on the notion of building SME cross-cluster capacity by selecting complementary partners out of SME networks that extend beyond the boundaries of a traditional cluster.