What is a competitiveness cluster?

The French competitiveness clusters or “pôles de compétitivité”

Innovation and Industry: A Winning Combination

Like most developed countries, France is facing increasingly rapid changes in the global economy. This is mainly reflected in the globalization of production factors (i.e. competition from low-cost countries). Innovation and research are key factors for industrial competitiveness, especially for manufacturers and service providers who have to continually adapt themselves to technological developments.

In this context, the French government has implemented a new industrial and economic policy by developing “Pôles de competitivité”. Not only do competitiveness clusters foster high levels of productivity and innovation, but they also represent a new way of thinking about national, state, and local economies.

The competitivity of the French industry depends on the ability for researchers, industrial and academic players of a given region to work in partnership.

A “Pôle de compétitivité” is the French equivalent for what Michael E. Porter calls a “cluster”: “Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, and associated institutions in a particular field that are present in a nation or region. Clusters arise because they increase the productivity with which companies can compete.”