Lithuanian Cluster Network will make national clusters visible in Europe
The aspiration to unite all clusters into a national organization in order to represent its members in Lithuania and abroad was achieved after signing the Agreement on the establishment of the Lithuanian Cluster Network. The network will be chaired by Giedrius Bagušinskas. Irmina Valytė was appointed the Managing Director of the network.
The way to the foundation of the Lithuanian Cluster Network was paved a year ago when a Memorandum on the establishment of the European Cluster Alliance during European Cluster Conference 2019 which took place in Bucharest was signed. The memorandum was approved by the European Commission. In the fields of policy-making and exchange of experience it brought together 10 European cluster associations from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Spain and Lithuania. Each country in this alliance must be represented by a legal entity that unites most of the country’s clusters and cluster policy-making organizations, therefore, 9 clusters with a Bronze Label of Cluster Management Excellence with the support of the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) and the Lithuanian Innovation Center (LIC) signed an initiative to establish a national cluster network during Cluster Forum in October.
The Lithuanian Cluster Network was officially established on 27 May 2020. The Manager of the SMART FOOD cluster and the Head of the Lithuanian Food Exporters Association (LitMEA) Giedrius Bagušinskas was elected the President. Irmina Valytė was appointed the Managing Director of the Network. It is the only organization in Lithuania that unites the community of 57 national clusters registered on Klaster.lt platform and the Promotion and Development of Innovation Networking (InoLink) project implementers. The Network will represent Lithuanian clusters operating in the fields of information and communication technologies, financial technologies, creative industries, production and engineering, agro-innovation and food technologies, energy and construction, transport, health and tourism. Clusters unite 777 small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The activities of the network over more than half a year have shown that cluster community supports the initiative of the national network. The establishment of the association confirmed that clusters can negotiate and work together,” states Giedrius Bagušinskas. According to him, combining joint efforts and resources clusters can be much more visible in Europe. In this way, there are more opportunities for partnerships, joint projects at both: the national and international levels.
According to the Managing Director Irmina Valytė, the organization aims the following: to strengthen clusters by raising competencies and exchanging experience during joint events and projects, to involve clusters to achieve the goals of the National Progress Programme, to submit proposals to the European Commission actively participating in European Cluster Alliance, to increase their involvement in international value chains and joint projects, to represent Lithuanian clusters and companies submitting proposals to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania. I. Valytė highlights that despite the COVID-19 pandemic suspended activities the members of the Lithuanian Cluster Association are actively communicating with each other and have even found new business opportunities together.
On the occasion of the establishment of the Network, the Acting Director of the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology Gintas Kimtys rejoiced that the cluster community has grown significantly and has evolved from cooperation platform Klaster.lt into the Lithuanian Cluster Network. He emphasized that Lithuanian Cluster Network is a springboard to the European Cluster Alliance, allowing Lithuanian clusters to propose relevant initiatives to the European Commission and participate in the cluster policy formation process.