U.S. EDA Announces Registry to Connect Industry Clusters Across the Country
October 6, 2011
Contact: John Atwood, (202) 482-4085
New tool by Harvard Business School will chart economic regions, facilitate collaboration, help create jobs and encourage business expansion
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA), along with the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, today announced the launch of the beta version of the U.S. Cluster Mapping Web site, a new tool that can assist innovators and small business in creating jobs and spurring regional economic growth.
The site, accessible at www.clustermapping.us, provides cluster initiatives and other economic development organizations an opportunity to register in a national database. The registry allows initiatives to showcase their activities and events to a wider public, search for appropriate partners across the nation, and learn from best practice examples of their peers. The site also provides free access to a rich database on the profile and performance of clusters and regional economies.
"The registry is just the first phase of this groundbreaking project to produce an interactive and dynamic geographic map that captures regional clusters and cluster-based initiatives across the nation," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. "Once it is complete, this tool will identify and connect the clusters that are driving 21st century job growth and enhance the capacity of policymakers, practitioners and industry leaders to promote economic growth."
Over time, the site will add a range of further functionalities, including geographic maps of cluster initiatives, data on regional business environments, and tools and case studies on the use of cluster data and concepts in economic development practice. It will provide users with multiple opportunities to upload their own data and conduct analysis based on their particular needs. The cluster registry will evolve towards a tiered-structure, with specific criteria on data availability, underlying cluster strength, and other performance indicators differentiating between the tiers. This will provide effective information for firms and cluster organizations looking for qualified partners and help federal, state, and local government agencies in their work to support cluster organizations.
Prof. Michael E. Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard University and Director of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, commented, "The U.S. cluster mapping site aims to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by informing regional leaders and stimulating innovation. It will help clusters and regions to understand their economic composition, benchmark their performance, improve institutions, and find appropriate partners across the country. My colleagues and I are looking forward to working with economic development practitioners over the coming months and years in making this site the best possible tool in this endeavor."
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov):
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.