How SIEA successfully implements „Action Plan for Cluster Support“ within the ClusterFY Project in Slovakia
On February 28, 2020 Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic opened a call for the submission of applications for the provision of a non-repayable financial contribution aimed at supporting business networking in Slovakia within the framework of the Operational Program Integrated Infrastructure (previously known as Operational Program Research and Innovations).
The call was prepared in mutual interaction between the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic and Cluster Stakeholders Working Group established and supported by Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (SIEA). This cooperation and work on a policy instrument improvement implements the Action Plan for the Support of Cluster Development in Slovakia, prepared within the ClusterFY project.
The call bring opportunities for clusters to obtain financial resources to cover the cluster management's personnel costs, services related to the cluster organization's activities, expenses related to participation in domestic and foreign promotional and educational events and other eligible expenses ranging from € 50,000 to € 200,000 by 85% maximum aid intensity. Implementation is envisioned for 3 years.
Since 2007, SIEA has been systematically involved in creating suitable conditions for the development of clusters, in preparing and providing their support, and in creating space for their internationalization. SIEA's entry into the international ClusterFY project within the Interreg Europe Program brought a significant change in the understanding of the cooperation of stakeholders in the Slovak cluster area. The project became the key to the creation of a broad cross sectorial working group so called Cluster Stakeholders Working Group (with representatives of SIEA, the Ministry of Economy, the Union of Slovak Clusters and major industrial clusters), which participated in the creation and subsequent implementation of the Action Plan for Slovakia to streamline Slovak cluster policy instruments.
Thanks to this cooperation, the above-mentioned call to support the networking of companies with a focus on the growth of research and development and innovation capacities in industry and services was open within the Integrated Infrastructure Operational Program. 21 industrial clusters applied. The requested amount of non-repayable financial contributions exceeded 3.5 mil. €. At the beginning of April 2021, the first 6 projects were already contracted and others are to follow.