02 April 2013

Board of Trade cluster strategy launched

Last week I had the good fortune to attend the launch of the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) cluster strategy. Over two days, two clusters were launched - one on the food and beverage industry and the other on life sciences.

The TRBOT's cluster strategy was kicked off last year when Michael Porter came to speak about the value of clusters. The focus of clusters is to collaborate to compete as a region  and the two events brought together leaders from business, academia and government to really put some shape around what actions and next steps are necessary in order to move the region's cluster development forward.

Both the food and beverage and the life sciences clusters are large economic development engines in the region, and we have the elements to make these even more successful in terms of industry, academic/skills training, and support from a range of state and nonstate actors. The Toronto Region Board of Trade's leadership in formulating cluster strategies and action plans to move the region forward is significant, and well timed. A more proactive linking of business R&D, skills training and education and new technology adoption in industry are the key drivers of productivity and innovation  By getting all the players together to work together, the TRBOT has opened up a conversation that dovetails with the focus on the recent federal budget - to encourage more public-private R&D partnerships, a better linkage of skills training with industry, and the value of new technology to drive innovation and productivity.  I am looking forward to learning more - and participating - in growing the region's clusters, and I encourage all to contact the TRBOT to learn how you can get involved in this exciting and worthwhile initiative.

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