Cluster Information


There is no one single definition of a cluster. Traditionally1 cluster refers to a group of interconnected actors in a certain geographical region. Besides geographical proximity, these actors also have some theme in common, such as the same industry. Moreover, the general view has been that these actors should cover the so-called Triple Helix -model. In other words, companies, research and educational institutions, and actors from the public sector should be involved in the cluster. More recently, some have asked whether the Triple Helix -model is sufficient to describe successful clusters2. In the so-called Pentagon / Penta Helix -model, there are besides these above-mentioned actors also startups/entrepreneurs and financers involved.



Behind a cluster you often find a cluster organization that coordinates the cluster’s activities and development, while at the same time supporting its members activities3. A cluster organization’s legal form can, for instance, be a cooperative, registered association or a limited company. In addition, a cluster can be established with a formal agreement of cooperation, or it can be a brand, which is owned by some organization.

In order to be successful a cluster’s operation needs to be managed. This means for instance that the cluster should have at least one person working full-time (e.g. CEO) and clear theme(s) that are focused on. To secure continuity, it would be important that the theme(s) are derived from the companies’/industry’s joint challenges and possibilities. Moreover, it is important that the continuity of the funding is secured.



In many countries (e.g. Norway, Denmark and Canada) there are national cluster programs through which clusters gain funding. We do not have this type of program in Finland, which means that private funding gains an important role for securing continuity of a cluster’s activities. Clusters can collect this, for instance, through member fees. We also know that successful clusters have other sources of income, such as projects, events and aids.

Considering international project funding, these portals are relevant for clusters:



Clusters have an important role both for companies and other actors in the region.

We know, for instance that clusters have a positive impact on companies’ competitiveness and international activities. According to a study4 made in Denmark, cluster members, for instance, have:

  • 4X more probably innovation activities
  • 3,6 % higher productivity growth
  • 14 % have international activities (5-6 % of those who are not in a cluster)

Moreover, according to the European Cluster Panorama Report 20215, clusters have a positive impact on regional competitiveness. GDP per capita and companies’ R&D investments are, for instance, higher in a region with clusters.



There are over 50 clusters in Finland of which a great part are found in NordicHub’s network. In Europe there are over 1500 clusters6 of which many are found in European Cluster Collaboration Platform’s cluster portal. Globally there are said to be over 7000 innovation clusters7.

We do not have a national cluster program in Finland, while there is one, for instance, in Norway, Denmark and Canada. Through these cluster programs the countries coordinate and finance the clusters’ activities seeing them as important for individual companies at one end and the whole country’s well-being at the other end.

Clusters in other Nordic countries are often used to collaborating with each other. We see that Finnish clusters are often outside of these activities and feel that there needs to be a change to that. Nordic cluster collaboration provides several benefits, such as, opportunities for increasing export and growth.  Consequently, NordicHub’s intention is to be a bridge builder between Finnish clusters and other Nordic clusters. To be able to do this, NordicHub also acts as a platform that brings together Finnish clusters and promote their activities.



Here are important international cluster actors and (series of) events. The categorization is made based on the organizing actor and you can read more about the organizer or the event by clicking its name.


European Cluster Collaboration Platform

European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) is a cooperation platform for European clusters founded by the European Commission. ECCP provides topical events, relevant information (e.g. funding opportunities) and good networking possibilities for clusters. The ultimate aim is to strengthen European actors’, especially SMEs’, productivity, innovativeness, internationalization and resource effectiveness. ECC is funded via EU’s COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) -program.

In ECCP:s evenemangskalender you find their events. Here are some highlights:


TCI Network

TCI Network is a leading global network for clusters and innovation ecosystems as well as people and organizations within them. TCI arranges various physical and virtual events for clusters and you find them by clicking here. The highlight of the year is the TCI Global Conference. The conference in 2023 is arranged in Reykjavik, Iceland with the theme ‘New landscapes in cluster development’.

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