TCI Network is the leading global network of organisations and practioners with deep expertise in clusters and competitiveness, who collaborate in a unique open and flexible context to advance in the practice of competitiveness, innovation and cluster development.
Through its activities, TCI Network reaches out to 9,000 practioners from development agencies, government deparments, cluster organisations, academic institutions, companies and multilateral organisations in 110 countries.
Founded in 1998, TCI Network is a nonprofit, non-governmental organisation with a global scope, open to members from all continents. Its co-founders include Michael E.Porter, Harvard Business School.
Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) is the contact point for entrepreneurs in Flanders. We encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship, and contribute to a favourable business climate. We do this in close collaboration with local actors and supported by our international commitments in EUREKA, E.E.N. and H2020. We focus on:
Stimulating growth and innovation
We support businesses through grants so they continue to grow, transform and innovate. Examples include the SME growth subsidy, SME innovation- and R&D-projects.
We work together with strong partners that assist SMEs through start, growth and takeover. We also encourage networking focused on growth companies.
We support organisations that catalyse cooperation and dynamics within a group of enterprises and knowledge institutions. Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship has selected 6 spearhead clusters and 20 Innovative Business Networks that will design the cluster policy of the Flemish Government. The focus of the cluster policy is on increasing the competitiveness of the companies and on improving active collaboration.
The spearhead clusters connect to important strategical domains in Flanders and are large-scale triple helix initiatives that receive financing for up to ten years to develop and implement their competitiveness programme. The Innovative Business Networks are usually smaller, bottom-up initiatives, receiving support for a period of three years to organise a collaboration dynamic in a specific domain that could lead to the increased competitiveness of companies.
Both spearhead clusters and Innovative Business Networks focus on Flemish companies that have growth ambitions, innovation awareness, and an international attitude, and that are open to collaborations with other companies and knowledge centres. Regardless of the initiatives’ scales, ambition levels and time horizons, the following features are deemed essential for the envisioned clusters:
Active commitment and management by the companies;
Active and sustainable collaboration as a central thread in the operations of the cluster;
Supported vision and custom action plan of and drawn up by cluster members;
Performing cluster organisation that acts as a facilitator and representative of cluster members;
Clusters focus on removing common thresholds and unused common business opportunities;
Clusters establish a link between knowledge creation and marketing and implementing new knowledge;
Clusters have an international attitude.
The focus of the Flemish cluster policy is on a limited number of large-scale and ambitious spearhead clusters. These spearhead clusters will develop and implement an ambitious long-term strategy and competitiveness programme for the Flanders strategic domain, in collaboration with companies, knowledge centres and the government (triple helix).
Overview of the spearhead clusters:
Blue Cluster: Spearhead cluster for blue growth
More information: www.blauwecluster.be
Catalisti: Spearhead cluster for sustainable chemistry and synthetics
More information: www.catalisti.be
Flanders Food: Spearhead cluster for agrofood
More information: www.flandersfood.com
Flux 50: Spearhead cluster for energy
More information: flux50.com
SIM: Spearhead cluster for materials
More information: www.sim-flanders.be
VIL: Spearhead cluster for logistics and transport
More Information: www.vil.be
Improving environmental factors
We facilitate the development of industrial areas.
By being a one-stop-shop, we built a bridge towards stronger entrepreneurship.
In close collaboration with our sister-organization Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) we help foreign entrepreneurs and investors to establish or expand a business in Flanders.
When looking closer at the opportunities Flanders and its five provinces has to offer you, the local Account Manager of Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship and your FIT investment Officer will:
Assist you in finding the right location (office space, industrial or logistic buildings, greenfields etc.) to set up your company;
Guide you through specific legislation in Flanders and Belgium concerning start up formalities, environmental and urban development permits, labour law, property law, taxation, etc;
Inform you about governmental incentives (subsidies, public financing tools, etc.) for your project;
Search for appropriate industrial, research and innovation partners in Flanders;
Guide you to professional organisations.
Flanders Investment & Trade
Flanders Investment & Trade – FIT for short – promotes international business in Flanders as a key element of the region’s socioeconomic development. FIT does this by supporting Flanders-based firms in their international ventures and by attracting foreign investors to the region, while providing custom advice, guidance and support in collaboration with Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO).
A government agency of Flanders, FIT offers a range of specialized services to companies in Flanders and abroad. Foreign companies that aim to set up business in the region can call on free consultation services regarding all aspects of their investments: from financing and tax incentives to site visits, employee recruitment and networking opportunities. Operating no fewer than 76 offices abroad, Flanders Investment & Trade is well represented around the globe.
Companies reap various rewards when deciding to invest in Flanders. The region’s strategic and central location in Europe, its highly developed infrastructure, its open and welcoming business environment, its innovative clusters and numerous other strengths make Flanders an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. The figures tell the tale – in 2018, foreign investors funneled EUR 4.24 million into Flanders-based activities: twice as much as the year before and the highest amount ever!
The region is also known for the close collaboration between its private, public and academic sectors – ranking as the European #1 for innovation linkages in the European Innovation Scoreboard. All of this makes Flanders fertile ground for innovative R&D activities in some of the most advanced technological niches. A major enabler in this co-creative ecosystem is Flanders’ cluster policy, which facilitates networks of companies and knowledge institutes that boost the competitiveness of various industries. FIT supports these clusters in their internationalization efforts and seeks to attract foreign investors capable of strengthening the clusters’ transformations into major international players.
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