On 2-4 July 2019, a group of eighteen Belarusian delegates took part in a study visit to the Podlasie region to learn about cluster initiatives. The delegation included representatives of state administration at the national, regional and local levels, members of business organizations, and experts in entrepreneurship and innovation interested in clusters.
The study visit was part of the project “Implementation of the Cluster System in Belarus,” co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the tour was to show effective methods of managing clusters drawing on the experiences of the Podlasie Regional Development Foundation and other cluster organizations in Podlasie, such as the Metal Processing Cluster (Key National Cluster), the Polish Construction Cluster (Key National Cluster), the InfoTech Technology Cluster and the North-East Eco-Energy Cluster.
Launched in 2018, the Polish Aid project will take three years to create a sound cluster system in Belarus. The initiative brings together businesses, highly skilled managers and local, regional and national authorities. It focuses on sharing European good practices and adapting them to Belarusian reality and needs.
Economic eco-systems such as clusters cannot operate on a regional scale without the involvement of local government and academic circles. The delegation visited the Marshal Office of Podlaskie Voivodship, the campus and the Institute of Innovation and Technology at the Bialystok University of Technology. The visitors watched a presentation which explained the mistakes made by cluster organizations and initiatives at the start and further on. The participants engaged in a discussion with the speakers, asking questions to learn more about clusters.
A pilot cluster is to be launched soon, allowing the delegates to put the new knowledge to use. The Podlasie Regional Development Foundation implements the project in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Development Council at the Administration of the Belarusian President and the Kuniauski Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers of Belarus.