The EnergyVaasa energy cluster has been granted an ECEI Gold Label certificate of the highest degree, which demonstrates first-class, sophisticated cluster management.
The Gold Label certificate of the Vaasa cluster is the first of its kind in Finland, the energy industry’s fourth in the Nordic countries, and the sixth in Europe. The certificate is valid for two years.
The ECEI certificates are granted by The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA), which is a neutral council subject to the EU, with EU-level rights to audit cluster operations. The certificates come in three levels: bronze, silver, and gold, and they act as international standards in cluster management. Increasingly, clusters are required to meet a certain certificate level to obtain EU funding.
The result of years of work
For EnergyVaasa, the gold certificate is the result of long strategic collaboration. The Vaasa energy cluster was earlier awarded the bronze certificate, but over the past year, cluster actors have worked towards attaining the highest gold level. During two audit days, ESCA representatives familiarised themselves with EnergyVaasa to assure that the cluster is led systematically and through continuous development of its operations, strategy, and marketing.
Technology Centre Merinova is one of the leading organizations behind the scenes, having officially launched EnergyVaasa together with ABB and the City of Vaasa in 2001. Merinova’s Managing Director Mika Konu comments:
We have been working as an important and neutral background actor for the cluster for the past 33 years. The extensive work that has been done for a long time in the EnergyVaasa cluster has now been confirmed on an EU-level. This not only holds local or national significance, but the certification is also internationally relevant.
The companies of the cluster are at the centre of its operations
The most important task of industry clusters is to produce added value for its companies. This is also something that the Gold Label evaluation process assesses through 31 eligibility criteria.
Johan Wasberg, Senior Expert at Merinova, explains:
High-quality cluster management is like a cycle, where companies play a central role. The auditors assess whether the cluster companies have taken part in creating its strategic plan and if the plan is based on their needs. They also assess how the strategy is present in the cluster’s operations and if actions taken are based on the strategy. When the plan has been carried out, it is evaluated, and the companies are asked whether the measures match their needs. Based on this, a new strategic plan is created.
A quality label that attracts international partners and enables financing
Attaining the gold label clearly demonstrates that a cluster is a pioneer in its industry. The certificate also gives the cluster other benefits. In Denmark, clusters are required to hold a gold level to obtain international and regional financing. For the EnergyVaasa cluster, this trump card enables new development and collaboration opportunities.
“The Gold Label certificate is a quality label that shows that the EnergyVaasa cluster collaborates on the EU level,” rejoices Stefan Råback, CEO at Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK. Among other things, VASEK oversees EnergyVaasa’s marketing activities.
This top qualification makes us an internationally attractive collaboration partner and is important for the development of our cooperation networks. It also significantly advances EU funding opportunities, both for cluster company investments and regional development projects.
Want to learn more about the Vaasa region’s exciting energy cluster? Watch this great presentation video: