As we have seen, clusters are an emerging form of organization within market economies. The trend toward the geographic concentration of public and private actors in one location is particularly strong in Europe. From a company perspective, this means that firms already integrated into a cluster will aim to grow, increase the economic benefits of the location and attract new members. These forms of organization may thus be considered as growth factors and forces of attraction.
Moreover, they form an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy, which aims to transform the EU into a “smart”, “sustainable” and “inclusive” economy, on the basis of knowledge and innovation, more efficient and more ecological in the use of resources and with improved levels of employment and social and territorial cohesion.
Europe is home to a multitude of these organizational forms, not all of which are innovative. The European Cluster Observatory has identified more than 10,000 regional clusters, classifying them using a star-based scoreboard, with one point allocated for each of the following criteria: the level of employment in an industrial cluster within a region, the level of specialization and the centralization of employment within the region on the cluster. On the basis of these criteria, 150 regional clusters have three stars, 500 have two and 1,300 have one star.
The number and variety of clusters raises significant challenges in terms of public ...