Introducing industry cluster development as a strategy for strengthening Alaska’s economy.
What is an industry cluster?
- An industry cluster is a geographically concentrated network of interdependent firms. Some characteristics of a cluster include:
- Firms are exporters of goods or services, generating economic activity for the region
- Firms are actively integrated with research and development institutions, universities and other intermediary actors such as universities, economic or regional development agencies, chambers, etc.
- Firms participate in continuous, fast knowledge exchange and cooperation between other cluster participants that contributes to the competitive increase of both the members and the whole region
- Competitive optimization is at a system, rather than individual organization level. An active local cluster includes firms and support organizations working together to achieve results that would not be possible individually
- Famous cluster examples include the information technology industry in Silicon Valley, the wine industry in Napa/Sonoma Valleys and more recently, the comprehensive statewide economic development strategy articulated by the Oregon Business Plan project
What is industry cluster development?
- The process of integrating what would otherwise be a clump of co-located firms and organizations into a high performance system
- Facilitating and supporting extensive informal and formal networking between firms—even competitors—across the cluster, and between firms and their supporting infrastructure
- Promoting a business culture that enables both competition and cooperation to thrive
Industry Cluster Successes