Clusters Opening Borders – Time for Leaders

The issue of opening borders is more than relevant for clusters. According to recent studies, associations of companies tend to achieve greater success on both domestic and international markets than their strictly individual counterparts. Cluster members jointly develop complex solutions and products that supplement each other. This benefits consumers who get access to solutions meeting the highest standards.

On May 17, 2019 the Center of Import Substitution and Localization of St. Petersburg hosted a panel discussion «Programs of interregional and cross-border cooperation of clusters». The event was attended by representatives of St. Petersburg companies working in the field of clean technologies. The panel was held on the sidelines of the IV Saint-Petersburg International Conference for Clusters «Clusters Opening Borders. Time for Leaders». SmartUp Accelerator was represented here to share our perspectives on the topic.

In St. Petersburg, the clean technology industry is a perfect example of how successful cluster cooperation can be. The St. Petersburg Cleantech Cluster for Urban Environment has been operating since 2014. The cluster is a member of Global Cleantech Cluster Association, Baltic Cleantech Alliance and «Green Clusters of Russia» association. Research and development in «clean» industries gain importance, while the circular economy is going global and competition is increasing.

Svyatoslav Kuzmenko, executive director of the St.Petersburg Cleantech Cluster for Urban Environment, noted that cluster cooperation, with international partners involved gives Russian companies new opportunities to carry out international projects. SmartUp Accelerator is one exampel of such a gateway.

Cluster cooperation can also be of great use in solidifying a company’s profile at home. Elena Oparina, director of marketing at Enviro, presented one example of a very ambitious initiative in this area – a cluster project for the joint performance of «green» start-ups. The project called “EKOLEND” involves 8 innovative enterprises of the St. Petersburg Cleantech Cluster for Urban Environment. The aim of Ekolend is a comprehensive development of different areas as well as improvement of the ecological situation in the city. The project will combine variegated technologies, including those for thermal waste disposal, conversion a heat into electricity and others.

For topics relating to sustainable development, cooperation is highly relevant. It is a field where much more can be achieved through collaborative work both locally as well as internationally. This was probably the most common themes of all the interesting examples and views as shared by the participants during the panel discussion, and us at SmartUp Accelerator can only agree.

Participation in international acceleration programs is an excellent opportunity for cleantech companies to develop. Tatiana Malevannaia, senior expert of the St. Petersburg Foundation of SME development, presented the SmartUp Accelerator project.