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29.09.2014
Lviv hosted the First Clusters Forum

On September 23, Lviv hosted the First Clusters Forum, whose main goal was to discuss the success of the existing clusters in the field of IT and tourism as well as to learn the opportunities and objectives of the future printing industry and light industry clusters. The event was organised by Lviv City Institute with the support of MLED Project.

The Clusters Forum has brought together the professionals from priority business sectors to reflect on the previous years of implementation of the Competitiveness Strategy and discuss the operation strategy for the next 5 years. The event was attended by representatives of the city’s clusters in the field of IT, tourism, printing industry and light industry, industrial and business communities, Lviv City Council and MLED Project.

At the formal opening, the Forum participants were greeted by Oleg Synyutka, the First Deputy Mayor of Lviv. He emphasised, that the development on a global scale gives a clear proof that contemporary development of clusters is effective and constitutes a form that best meets economic, competitive and social challenges. And Lviv is also at the heart of it. "Lviv today, as a city that is dynamically developing IT and tourism, is well-known all over Eastern Europe. And we continue extending these boundaries. Therefore, it could be worth to explore, why it is that these particular sectors demonstrate such positive dynamics. We must clearly understand why IT and tourism have made such a step forward and what credit the cluster model deserves for it, what needs to be multiplied and to what extent such a multiplication can become the driving force for the development in these directions. The City Council makes a big effort to understand and support those model insights that emerge in Lviv today. If Lviv will be successful, then successful will be Ukraine," said Mr. Synyutka.

Oleksandr Kobzarev, Lviv City Institute Director, overviewed the 2010-2015 Competitiveness Strategy. "The Strategy sets IT and tourism as priorities. These were the sectors where the clusters were created, and the recent years have proved the effectiveness of such choice. Hence, here at Lviv Cluster Forum we will work on shaping the new strategy to 2020, bearing in mind both the IT and tourism clusters and the new directions," he said. He also emphasised that the printing and light industries must become the growth drivers of local economy. 

Oleg Zasadnyi, President of Lviv Tourist Alliance, and Stepan Veselovskyi, Executive Director for IT and Business Services Cluster, reported why the cluster could be seen as a successful business model. The audience participated in the brainstorming session "What will Lviv business environment be like in 2020?" Then the group work focused on clusters. Participants had to answer questions like: "What do you generally want for a cluster?", "What the city can do for you and vice versa?" and "What is the benefit from participating in a cluster for every participant?" etc.

According to one of the initiators of the light industry cluster, Oleg Yanytskyi, Director of Subsidiary Company of Sika Footwear A/S, by joining forces companies can go after new markets, which otherwise may not be accessible to a single company. "The first task for those participants who have already shown interest in creating a cluster is to find a customer to make money from and increase profits. Another point is a joint search for suppliers of raw materials and equipment," explained Mr Yanytskyi Staryi Lev Publishing House has become one of the initiators of the publishing and printing industry cluster. According to Mykola Sheiko, Staryi Lev Publishing House Director, the tasks of the future cluster include setting up a powerful contemporarily equipped publishing base in Lviv. "Companies operating in Lviv today have true professionals, deeply rooted publishing traditions but lack of modern equipment. That is the reason why we have to look for other cities to make our publishing products," noted Mr Sheiko. Another possible focus area is the promotion of Lviv’s printing and publishing base in other cities and countries.

In addition, an idea to initiate an education cluster has started up. The importance of this sector for Lviv can hardly be overestimated as there are over 130,000 students in the city and the education sector nurtures the future professionals for all business areas. People have a direct incentive to make Lviv’s intellectual capital out of the simple labour force with the help of good-quality education. "We also added the education cluster. Although it is not oriented on making money, its overall influence on the city’s economy is difficult to overestimate," said Mr. Kobzarev.

 
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