Clusters to Drive Northern Region Development

Northern Tasmania Development Corporation Ltd (NTDC) has partnered with the Cradle Coast Authority (CCA) to host Cluster Navigators CEO, Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, to address and facilitate various industry based workshops through the Food, Forestry and Health sectors in the North and North-West of Tasmania.

Ifor is acknowledged as one of the most influential cluster practitioners in the world, with hands-on experience extending to over 50 countries, including as an advisor to The World Bank, EU, OECD, UNDP, international aid agencies and national & regional economic development agencies on six continents.

The focus for economic development globally is moving from the national level, from support to industries to individual firms with, today, the emphasis being on the development of cities, regions and their cluster eco-systems.

It is important to collaborate in order to drive economic development and build on Tasmania’s strengths and to help progress service innovation. This bottom-up approach reflects that while companies may come and go, strong and evolving clusters provide economic stability to a region.

Ifor believes ‘today’s economy is about speed, flexibility and connectivity in an environment where innovation and economic growth are geographically connected.’ ‘Clusters and smart specialisations are cornerstones of this reality.’

He notes ‘though clusters are a natural occurrence, the development of clusters does not need to be left to chance.’ With ‘cluster development becoming a mainstream framework for regional development, especially across Europe, providing a centre stage strategy that addresses innovation, productivity and competitiveness’.

Maree Tetlow, CEO at NTDC, stated that “holding these workshops will help to identify opportunities within the various sectors and areas where businesses can collaborate to better compete in a global market, for example, by considering sharing the cost of an expensive piece of machinery to increase the capability of more than one business in the sector.”

“We are also hoping to learn some practical tips on how to support clusters to assist build our regional economic prosperity and jobs.”

This project fits well with Northern Tasmania’s strengths in manufacturing, agribusiness, food, tourism, health and educations sectors. Cluster Week will build our skills and knowledge base and contribute to the competitiveness of our region.