Experiences from a regional cluster project in Northern Norway and possible implications for Russia

Lead Author Andrei, Mineev
Institution Contact Nord University Business School, High North Center for Business and Governance 8049 Bodø Norway
Theme Theme 5: New Markets for the Arctic, including Trade, Tourism and Transportation
Session Name 5.3 Management of the High North: the role of context, strategies and plans
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 02:00 PM - 02:15 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Stimulating regional cooperation through various network and cluster initiatives became a recognized practice in Northern Norway in the light of the state Policy for the High North. The underlying idea is integration of local SMEs in new or existent supply chains. Often subsidized by the state, the initiatives are implemented in coordination with larger companies and regional authorities. Such “policy-induced” networks are widely applied in OECD regions as a tool to build regional business capacity. A prevailing opinion is that local companies, who are often small and inexperienced in relation to new markets, should join forces if they want to survive in business becoming inevitably global.
My paper highlights experiences from a cluster project implemented in Northern Norway in 2012-2015. The ambition of the project was to build capacity of local companies with regard to high requirements of the petroleum industry. Together with opportunities for local businesses, such projects are inevitably associated with challenges. Managers of participating SMEs normally experience time pressure from their day-to day business, lack time for development work, as well as have various expectations to the projects. At the same time, to build strategic relationships the cluster project had to be planted in a nest of links with important other organizations and grew in member mass. Increased relational complexity, diversity of expectations and time deficit together make management of such projects a difficult affair. Given this background, I identified several success factors for development of similar projects. First, the cluster has to be built where political interests are counter-balanced by strong entrepreneurial motives and supported by an idealistic broker. Second, the development process should be of organic nature, based on the participants’ free will and willingness to accept uncertainty. Third, the project should maintain multiple identity in relation to expectations of the heterogeneous actors around the setting. Implications for using the North-Norwegian cluster experience in Russia are also outlined in the paper.
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