Briefings encourage industry groupings

16/08/2012

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A team of overseas experts is in Adelaide to encourage firms in the manufacturing and resource sectors to organise into localised groups - known as clusters.

Led by internationally acclaimed cluster specialist Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, the team is conducting workshops with representatives of industry, government and the research sector.

"Industry clusters connect firms working in related industries, and support them in developing their competitiveness," Mr Ffowcs-Williams said.

"Clusters are a great way to respond to the needs of South Australia's expanding resources sector.

"International evidence suggests that enterprises involved in clusters are more dynamic, innovative and market driven, making them more profitable, resilient and attractive to potential investors."

Hosted by the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE), the workshops are focussing on opportunities to develop clusters around large mining and resources projects in South Australia.

Mr Ffowcs-Williams, who has trained cluster professionals in 45 countries, is facilitating the workshops.

He said research had shown innovation and economic growth were geographically concentrated.

"Clusters enable new industries to emerge and they improve the competitiveness of existing industries.

"Successful examples in Canada and Norway have shown how clusters can increase collaboration between the research sector and industry, leading to the specialisation of products and services."

Chief Executive of DMITRE, Geoff Knight, said the workshops were a direct action arising from former Manufacturing Thinker in Residence Professor Göran Roos final report, Manufacturing into the Future.

"Industry participants have been specifically targeted to attend the workshops as international experience suggests the most successful clusters are industry-led," Mr Knight said.

"Clusters will help anchor the opportunities emerging from the state's record $109 billion worth of
major projects - projects in minerals and energy, in defence, in urban development, infrastructure, health and education.

"They will also be beneficial for small business by helping them to qualify for opportunities in major projects that their size may otherwise prevent them from pursuing."