REGIONAL CLUSTER INITIATIVES AS A DRIVING FORCE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Keywords:Cluster based economy, Regional economy, Clusters, Regional Development, Porter
Regional cluster initiatives receive increasing interest from researchers and practitioners, as well as policy makers, although there is not consensus on a single definition on regional clusters. First authors discuss elements and dimensions of regional clusters that leads to the definition of regional clusters based on five dimensions- single sector enterprises, that cooperate and compete; supportive enterprises from a wide range of sectors; public and government institutions, interested in economic development of sector and region; other institutions, like research, education, finance and others and fifth is regional dimension, which combines all four previously mentioned dimensions into one region. The authors of this paper explore the benefits of regional cluster initiatives in micro (enterprise) and macro (region) level. The research is based on wide literature studies and includes monographic studies, descriptive, analysis and synthesis methods to find out whether regional clusters are associated with regional growth and development. The findings of this research show that regional clusters play important role in stimulating firm performance, innovation capacity and competitiveness, which leads to the region’s competitiveness and development. The authors combine positive aspects of regional clusters into four statements. In statement one authors combine studies to show that geographical concentration and collaborative ties of companies promote efficiency and productivity. Statement two shows that enterprises that cooperate and collaborate with other enterprises and institutions are creating and implementing innovations more effectively. In statement three it is found that innovation capacity and increase in efficiency of geographically concentrated enterprises contribute to the enterprise competitiveness. Statement four states that clusters promote growth of existing enterprises and creation and survival of startups. These statements lead to framework showing the effects of regional clusters on the region’s growth and development. The positive link is found between regional clusters and firm’s performance (micro level) and region’s performance (macro level); therefore it is important to stimulate regional cluster initiatives in micro and macro level. For the further research authors suggest testing these positive effects in the specific region.