The CE4BIG project (Cluster Excellence for Business, Innovation and Growth in the health sector), supported by the EU COSME Programme, involved four European healthcare clusters: Atlanpole Biotherapies from France, BioM from Germany, BioWin from Belgium and Klaster Life Science Krakow from Poland.
The project aimed to build up cluster management excellence and to optimise cluster services for SMEs in the personalized medicine sector. Even though the CE4BIG project ran entirely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – from February 2020 to February 2022 – it has nonetheless contributed to stimulating cluster management development and innovation, mainly through C2C and B2B virtual exchanges and SME trainings. The four health clusters benefited from upgrading their need-driven SME innovation and growth services as well as from evaluating and enhancing their cluster management strategies.
One way to exchange the knowledge was to organise a transnational mission in each partner’s region, focused on topics of common interest for the partners and their SME members in order to foster C2C peer-learning, as well as SME business and innovation.
Intending to support the development of advanced therapies for personalized medicine and related industries, the four clusters have created a European partnership in this field. Through four joint training programmes, two joint events and four transnational missions (online delegations), they were able to improve their cluster competencies and services for members. Thanks to lessons learned in joint activities and through sharing knowledge, cluster strategies and strategic processes were optimized. Together, these activities have led to each of the partners obtaining an ESCA label of Cluster Management Excellence, demonstrating the provision of top-quality and tailor-made support services for their members: Atlanpole Biotherapies received Bronze, KLSK and Biowin received Silver, and BioM received Gold.
As regards the transnational missions, the following four events have been organized:
- European funding opportunities for innovative health SMEs – working with European clusters from the project and the CELIS project, understanding this crucial topic for SMEs working in the health sector
- BioEntrepreneurship summit 2021 | CE4BIG satellite session – Green transition in life sciences: a nice-to-have or a must-have for start-ups? Partners and their members had the opportunity to attend BioM’s annual highly successful Bioentrepreneurship Summit, to meet potential collaboration partners and learn from one another. The partners also identified the green transition in life sciences as a crucial and upcoming topic, so organised a joint session on this topic
- Life Science Open Space 2021 – Health technologies session, partners and their members were invited to KLSK’s annual Life Science Open Space event, as an opportunity to meet potential collaboration partners and understand about the health sector in Poland
- Roadshow on bioproduction & presentation of Atlanpole Business Innovation Centre (BIC) The event took place digitally, leading to many B2B meetings between cluster members and some interesting exchanges between project partners!
What is the value of C2C learning?
The four cluster partners involved in the CE4BIG Project have generated a vibrant European network within the healthcare sector, and especially in the field of personalized medicine, including SMEs/start-ups, companies, academics (entrepreneurs-to-be) and policy and funding stakeholders. The nurturing of this ecosystem and meeting opportunities between these different actors are key to building trustful collaborations.
The cluster partners were able to deliver high-level services for their SMEs within their regional ecosystem and have today the ambition to improve them and deliver them at European level. Partners have built and reinforced trustful relations and close connections between cluster management teams. This is a key success factor to deploy a long-term relation, beyond the project lifetime within a Strategic Partnership. Thanks to the cluster benchmarking activities and the organisation of the transnational missions, the four partners have been able to learn in more detail about the different support services and internal know-how deployed. This is a very valuable asset to share best practices at EU level and to improve cluster support services. Each cluster has been able to lean on each other to support SMEs/start-ups.
The CE4BIG cluster partnership will continue to flourish and respond to European challenges in the field of personalized medicine and its future. Based on the learnings from the C2C exchanges, the joint strategy has been set up, focusing on the industry working in the field of 5P medicine, and ensuring our support to SMEs for access to public funding. The partnership hopes to expand to other European countries to become a competitive, world-class network of health clusters. Any health cluster or individual SME can connect with the partnership through its LinkedIn page: Health Clusters for SMEs.