What is a cluster? We often refer to our marketing efforts by the targeted clusters we are looking to attract and grow. For those not familiar with a cluster, here is a definition straight from Wikipedia: An industry cluster, also known as a business cluster,competitive cluster, or Porterian cluster, was introduced and the term cluster popularized by Michael Porter in "The Competitive Advantage of Nations"(1990).
In 2001, Harvard University competitiveness expert Dr. Michael Porter completed a comprehensive analysis of the Research Triangle Region. In his report, "Clusters of Innovation," Porter predicted that “future U.S. competitiveness will not hinge just on policies and investments at the national level but on the capacity to foster clusters of innovation in regions across the country.” Clusters are interconnected businesses and support organizations in a specific industry.
Wake County Economic Development in partnership with NC State University and the Research Triangle Regional Partnership has identified targeted industry clusters that have great potential for growth. This is not a new concept for Wake County; as a matter of fact, we have been at it for several years and it is paying big dividends. In 2010, we had 47 announcements and 50 percent of those were in our targeted cluster industries.
As we grow, we evolve and so do our clusters. In 2002, according to research from the Wake County Economic Development team, the Triangle was home to just 20 medical device companies. That number is now more than 100 with more start-ups, new companies moving to the area, and more of our existing companies evolving and developing new technologies for medical applications.
Wake County Economic Development recently released our new2011-2012 Marketing Plan and Targeted Industry Overview and with it comes two new targeted clusters, CleanTech, which includes companies engaged in Smart Grid Technology and alternative energy solutions, and our second cluster, which is much broader, but certainly a growing area for the Triangle—Software/IT.
We invite you to take a look at our 2011-2012 Marketing Plan and learn more about the opportunities the Triangle has to grow our cluster companies.
*Taken from the 2004 report Staying on Top, Winning the Job Wars of the Future