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The process of clustering in the FYR of Macedonia started in 2002 with the support of USaID. Central principles of cluster development in the FYR of Macedonia are the “bottom-up” approach and the principle of learning through practice.

Strategy for industrial policy 2009 –2020

In 2009, the Macedonian government adopted the Strategy for Industrial Policy 2009 –2020, presenting a set of government measures to stimulate and support the creation and development of a competitive domestic in-
dustrial sector based on knowledge, innovation and cooperation among the relevant actors. The strategy comprises five areas of intervention, one of them being dedicated to collaboration in clusters and networks in such areas as procurement, sale, creating innovative business solutions, joint promotion and trainings. 
 

Cluster development programme

In place of a uniform action for encouraging the development of clusters, the Ministry of Economy designed a wider package of measures for encouraging cooperation and networking. The implementation of the Cluster programme has been conceived in three phases.

  1. Identification of potential clusters,
  2. Definition of cluster policy, and
  3. Practical implementation of the cluster policy.

On the basis of the clusters identified, the original concept was to promote the development of those clusters that were of strategic importance in terms of the number of companies, the proportion of employment, existing advantages, development potential and market share.

The cluster development policy in the FYR of Macedonia pursues three objectives:

The first is to encourage cooperation and networking between companies in order to strengthen individual and joint abilities to develop partnerships and to intensify cooperation between companies and research and development institutions, thus strengthening the common capabilities required for promoting innovation and technological development.

The second objective is to promote the development of clusters through increased investments in support infrastructure. This primarily entails investment in strengthening the know-how, skills and expertise required to promote the development and functioning of clusters.A training program was designed to improve cluster development, and to establish a network of cluster promoters, coordinators and potential cluster managers.

The third objective is to initiate the formation of clusters in practice, comprising the following measures:

Direct measures: 

  • Incentives for networking; specialisation in value/production chains, development of technology networks,
  • Promotion of networking; network of experts, management support in development of “local clusters”, exchange of experiences and
  • Incentives for cluster development: support for initial phase and support in development.

Indirect measures:

  • Incentives for investment in R&D; industrial research, technology investment of companies and
  • Incentives for measures to increase productivity; introduction of new management tools, quality standards and continuous improvementsystems in the value/production chain.
Established Clusters in the FYR of Macedonia

Several cluster initiatives are already operating in the FYR of Macedonia: a textile cluster, an information technology cluster, a wine cluster, a cluster for tourism and a cluster for lamb meat and sheep cheese as well as clusters for
agricultural mechanisation, automotive components, wood processing, foodprocessing, fashion design etc. These clusters are at various stages of development and need specific support to further accelerate their deployment.

The key weakness that all existing clusters share is a lack of potential for innovation, new products and services to compete better on the global markets. Existing clusters have mainly been created with the purpose of “grouping of
small enterprises” to better sell on the markets and have done much less in the area of sharing and creating economies of scale in purchasing, applicable research and development and innovation.The analysis of successful clusters around the world shows that successful clusters gather, apply and expand knowledge and create innovative solutions to business challenges. These qualities of clustering still need to evolve in the FYR of Macedonia.

Support Measures for Clusters

To combat these weaknesses, the following measures for collaboration in clusters and networks are introduced:

  1. Further awareness raising and training for clustering/networking,
  2. Support for Cluster/network analysis and strategy development accompanied by an action plan and specific projects,
  3. Supply chain partnerships acceleration and 
  4. Stimulation of technological centers, support of networks of R&D institutions.
Expected results

The implementation of policy measures in clustering and networking is expected to lead to an improved  understanding of the positive effects of clustering and networking for the Macedonian industry. Governmental support to clustering and networking will emerge throughout the public-private dialogue, which will help to overcome challenges of collaboration. The implementation of policy measures (supported by the government as well as by other donors, EU programs and funds) shall contribute to the creation of demonstration clusters as best practices for future innovation based clustering.

Geographical focus
  • FYR of Macedonia
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Entry created by Ines Marinkovic on May 30, 2011