The precondition for the development of a cluster is the existence of common interests and objectives, along with the right people, the desire to work together and belief in the success of cooperation.
A cluster is comprised of a group of cooperating companies and institutions in close geographical proximity that provide similar or comparable goods or services. Based on the closeness of the cluster members (from both a location and field of activity standpoint), they can benefit from various external influences. For example, these influences can include access to a specialised labour force and suppliers; the sharing of experiences and knowledge; pressure to achieve greater productivity in order to survive in ever increasing competition; and a continual flow of knowledge thanks to the close relations between the clients and suppliers.
Generally, clusters have four basic traits:
- Proximity: the companies must be located sufficiently close to each other to benefit from possible positive side effects and to utilize common resources.
- Reciprocal impact:the success of one company in the cluster promotes the success of the other companies in the cluster.
- Connections: the companies must share common business principles in order to benefit from the proximity and reciprocal impact.
- Critical mass: there must be a sufficient number of members in the cluster to ensure that their interaction creates a possible meaningful impact on the companies’ performance.
Effective cooperation is based on the right partners. The list shown here provides more information on the nature of cluster partners and services they offer, as well as the kinds of environment that promote the development of clusters.