What are Business ‘Industry Clusters’ and how can Regional Cleantech Businesses benefit?
A business cluster can be defined as a number of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and institutions in a particular field that are clustered together in a geographic concentration. Business clusters aim to increase productivity and enable companies in a specific region to compete not only locally but also nationally and globally.
An economic cluster, or several clusters often act as a driving force in regional economies. Good examples of clusters include the levels of computer chip production in California’s Silicon Valley, concentration of automotive production industry in Detroit, London’s financial sector, and even Hollywood’s movie production industry.
Today, business clusters are becoming the leaders in driving the adoption and use of clean technology in Australia. But this is not the only reason driving businesses to form cleantech clusters. By combining synergies, the industries are able to explore larger markets, expand their portfolios and achieve faster growth.
What exactly are Cleantech Clusters?
In 2014, a team of experts including Lee Anne Nance, Executive Vice President of the Research Triangle Partnership and Jeremy Adelman, founder of Energy Foundation, came together at SXSW in Austin, Texas to explore the application of “cleantech clusters” and help accelerate their use. According to these experts, cleantech clusters comprise of cultural and institutional assets in a specific regional area that work together to make the realisation of sustainable energy a reality. The clusters could include academic institutions, public institutions, and private companies that have an interest in exploiting clean energy.
Cleantech clusters are groups of teams of companies and organisations that join hands to stimulate their operations together as opposed to individually.
Today, clean energy lacks a specific entity to guide it in the complexity of commercialisation. Even when a new technology is discovered, the transition from experimentation to full adoption is lengthy and precarious. One major obstacle is the high capital requirement.
Cleantech clusters are designed to fill this gap by creating the needed link between learning organisations, industries, businesses and early adoption of technologies from the discovery stages to commercialisation. Consider it as a complete cycle that anchors innovation and helps to take it beyond the local, national, and regional level.
Important Things You Need to Know when Creating Cleantech Clusters
As more businesses aim at realising the benefits of cleantech clusters, here are some important things they need to know to optimise the associated benefits.
- Start by understanding your respective niche: Every industry has the opportunity to contribute to clean energy either directly or indirectly. Therefore, understanding your business and its niche can help you to explore the best methods of exploiting clean energy. Note that this contribution could be exploiting the available resources such as solar energy or even contributing to research.
- The importance of collaboration and building partnerships: When creating a cleantech cluster, forming partnerships is very important. The partnerships help to ensure that the enterprises operating in a specific area can create realistic solutions for its members. For example, an innovation lab can help with the exploration of the latest solutions for cleaner production while your business provides the testing platform. Then, your enterprise will be the first to enjoy the new technology.
- Harnessing Big Data: Today, businesses and industries are driven by Big Data. The data could be about the growth targets, demographics, and targeted audience that can help to define the expected growth. By analyzing the big data, it becomes easy to undertake even projects that would otherwise be impossible or too risky when explored alone.
- Focus on exploring the regional potential: To make your cleantech more effective, it is important to have a regional focus. This implies that you can easily exploit the regional strengths to colonise a bigger market or negotiate for better deals at the global market.
Benefits of Regional Cleantech Clusters
After creating a functional and aggressive business cleantech cluster, you should anticipate faster growth as a group and individually. Here are the main advantages to expect from the clusters:
- They help to accelerate the growth and success of enterprises: This is the primary goal of many businesses and institutions forming cleantech clusters. As a group, it becomes easy to guide policies and win funds to develop useful technologies. For example, the CleanTECH San Diego cluster was able to secure more than $150 million USD in Federal Government stimulus funds when it indicated it wanted to install a 20 MW solar power.
- Cleantech clusters help to drive innovation: As dangers associated with fossil fuels become more evident, governments are under pressure to look for alternative solutions. Cleantech clusters help to drive industry-specific innovation because different stakeholders work together. A banking institution can rely on its cleantech cluster to get the next generation apps to facilitate faster access to its services.
- Cleantech clusters help to make you the epicenter of a clean production ecosystem: One fact that businesses and governments agree with is that implementing clean technology is not an easy task. However, when you combine synergies and manage to adopt cleaner energy solutions, you become a case study for success and seen as an industry leader. This means a better brand image and elevated sales.
- Alone you can only achieve so much, together you can achieve more: When you decide to work on a new idea, the process can look monumental for you because of issues such as cost and planning. However, working as a team makes the entire process easy because of more ideas and even resources.
Cleantech clusters provide the roadmap
As the idea of clean energy becomes a reality, more businesses, organisations, and governments are seeking reliable methods that can help to advance their course. Cleantech clusters provide the needed roadmap that ensure you do not move alone in the journey.
By creating a strong and aggressive cleantech cluster, it becomes easy to explore both local and global markets. Your enterprise is assured of getting the top minds around the table so that it can make products or release services that will be in demand across the globe.
Do you want to succeed? Hook your business to the right cleantech cluster.
About the Australian Cleantech sector
The future of Australian Cleantech sector largely depends on its ability to link with decision makers and investors to bring about measurable influence and mobilise its own growth.
The aim of the National Clean Technologies Conference & Exhibition is to provide a unique platform for the producers, stakeholders and commercial end-users of clean technology to come together. The program will focus heavily on commercialisation, creating effective business clusters, innovation case studies and success stories, investment/funding channels, innovation and trends. Our vision is that this event becomes the place for the Cleantech industry to collaborate, be educated, be inspired, find opportunity and most importantly, do business.
The conference will also attract stakeholders from across the Cleantech industry to initiate growth, revolution, and investment.