Team NEO has adopted the Brookings Institution’s definition of clusters, which describes them as “geographic concentrations of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers and associated institutions in a particular sector.”
Clusters are geographically concentrated groups that provide a powerful strategic framework for regional economic growth. Their popularity in economic development is fairly recent, but is based on a long history of research in industrial organization and economic competitiveness.
We promote the development of regional innovation clusters in Northeast Ohio to diversify and strengthen an economy hit hard by the decline of manufacturing and economic recession.
Cluster development targets the entire value chain from fundamental research to final production. It also recognizes the supporting role of associated stakeholders, such as governments, economic development organizations and the media, and their contributions to the success of a cluster.
Organizing economic development policy and practice around clusters allows for addressing fundamental challenges in a regional economy. Thinking and acting as a cluster:
- Responds to the needs of an entire region and has a powerful impact on multiple companies.
- Encourages interactions and synergies among firms that lead to regional growth.
- Drives productivity and innovation.
- Enables companies to transact business more efficiently, share technologies and knowledge more readily, operate more flexibly, start new businesses more easily, and perceive and implement innovations more rapidly.
- Gives companies greater ease of access to pools of skilled employees, specialized infrastructure, technological knowledge, investment capital and funding opportunities.
- Helps a region create new job opportunities and transition from unemployment or underemployment to high-skilled, high-wage jobs.
- Develops regional business opportunities that are less susceptible to off-shoring.
- Engages and stabilizes diverse communities by re-purposing idle assets and human capital.