On July 2, the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA) organised an event, within the national project Increase of Innovative Performance of Slovak Economy and international project ClusterFY, called “Cluster Morning”, which was attended by 40 representatives of cluster organisations, the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic (MoE), the Slovak Cluster Union, and SIEA. The event was divided into three sessions – a seminar on the topic cluster certification, a meeting of the “Working group“ of the ClusterFY project, and individual consultations with clusters. 

The seminar on the topic “Cluster certification“ involved the presentation of two ways for cluster organisation benchmarking based on management quality (international certificate from European Secretary for Cluster Analyses) or based on innovation performance, a so-called national certification system where the quality of management is just one of the evaluation criteria.

The Director of the Innovations and International Cooperation Section Artur Bobovnický presented analysis mapping the innovating potential of Slovak regions and commented on this topic: “Slovakia lacks its own evaluation of clusters, a system for evaluating their performance. Globally, the economy is driven by the regions. At the same time, they are a space for specialisation. However, the problem in Slovakia is that the regions do not have any effective tools to influence the regional performance of companies.“

The President of the Slovak Cluster Union (SCU), Daniel Ács, drew attention in his speech to some current issues arising from the membership of SCU in the European Clusters Alliance (ECA).

The following meeting of the ClusterFY working group was led by SIEA project manager Alexandra Vavrdová. She presented the achieved goals, outputs, the following plans and the project in general to stakeholders and new attended clusters. The participation of representatives of the MoE, some industrial clusters (such as Košice IT Valley, Slovak Plastics Cluster, National Energy Cluster and others) brought internationally accepted and highly evaluated project outputs for the Slovak Republic (action plan to support clusters, published good practice examples on the project platform and the Interreg Europe platform).

At the end of the meeting, there was a discussion entitled "What next?" on new projects, challenges and opportunities for cooperation, moderated by the Director of the Programs and Analyses Department Vladimír Borza.

The third part under guidance of SIEA project managers Renáta Magulová and Katarína Ružičková was devoted to individual consultations with clusters on specific themes, such as “Innovation activities of cluster“, “Challenges in evaluation process“, “Presentation of good practices“, “Preparation of cluster strategy“, etc. Due to the enormous interest of cluster organizations, the agency will organize these meetings on a regular basis.

At the end of the event, the participants agreed on the need for even closer cooperation between the attendees: clusters – Slovak Cluster Union – public administration (SIEA) – government (MoE), on preparation of methodology for cluster organisations assessment in terms of their innovation performance/potential and preparation of a workshop on possible forms of their internationalisation.