Cluj – the New IT Innovation Center of Romania
A new strategic plan, endorsed by the Romanian Ministries of Economy and Regional Development, positioned Cluj as the center of information services in Romania. On the 14th of November, 2012 Cluj IT Innovation Cluster has been officially launched on national level. The Cluj IT Innovation Cluster has its role model in the Silicon Valley and aims to transform Cluj, the 2nd largest city from Romania, into the most important center for IT research & development and IT business in Romania. Codespring is among the founding members of the Cluj IT Innovation Cluster, coordinated by the Cluj IT Association.
Romania’s major cities were qualified as strategic development capitals in order to provide conducive environment to the areas in which they excel. The fact that local administration has joined the Cluster as a founding member highlights that Cluj became the capital of computing. According to the Chairman of the Cluj County Council, Horea Uioreanu, Brașov became the capital of aviation, Iași the pharmaceutical capital and Timișoara the automotive capital of Romania.
The first meeting of the Cluj IT Innovation Cluster’s Strategic Council was held on the 14th of November, 2012 in Bucharest. The event took place as the official lead-off platform of the national cluster and analyzed strategies for developing and promoting the newly founded organization.
“We are pleased that we were able to lay the foundations of this cluster formed on the Silicon Valley model in a very short amount of time. Cluj IT Innovation Cluster has 36 founding members, among which IT companies, prestigious universities from Cluj, research institutes and public authorities. As for us, we will do whatever is needed to support this new growth pole of advanced technologies in order to enable in the shortest time Cluj to become the most important national pole in R & D and IT business, “said the Chairman of the Cluj County Council, Horea Uioreanu, cited by Adevărul.
The Cluster aims to provide an officially supported growth platform for local IT sector representatives. Cluj IT Association has been legally established in October 2012 as a non-profit association and proposes to coordinate the activities and projects undertaken by the Cluj IT Innovation Cluster. It comprises 23 technology companies, with a total turnover of EUR 100 Million. Its mission regards the initiation, promotion and support of common interests in the IT&C sector and relationship with the state and business environment, both nationally and internationally, promotion of modern business paradigms as well as provision of innovative informatics solutions that can support sustainable and competitive development for the national business environment and public institutions.
Specifically, it aims to increase the capacity of research and development, fostering cooperation between public institutions undertaking research, development and innovation (RDI) and private companies, capitalization on the underlying potential of IT&C and its application in both the public (public administration, education, health) and private sector (enterprises, citizens), increasing the competitiveness of local IT&C industry representatives, supporting economic trade and commercial activities between members of the cluster, supporting entrepreneurship and SMEs among local IT&C members, identifying and attracting resources (investments, hedge funds) to attain long-term development in the sector.
The activities driven by the IT companies located in Cluj have established the region as one of the most attractive destinations for IT investments in Romania. Its high focus on export, especially towards EU and US markets, helped Cluj rank among the first Romanian cities from an IT export revenue perspective.
The cluster aims to further strengthen this position and become Romania’s most important IT center, by switching the current focus – software development and outsourcing – to companies building their own innovative products.
Proximity to some of the best universities in the country (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj Technical University) is another advantage that can support accelerated growth (more than 75.000 students graduate yearly from Cluj universities). The institutions’ involvement in international research programs as well as partnerships with other universities creates a favorable environment for the development of a wide and highly skilled workforce.
The main component in the cluster’s development is the Cluj Innovation City, designed to become a modern business complex, capable to provide a high quality work environment for member companies as well as to attract new members. The structure will include an intranet platform, to allow collaboration in the virtual environment, a technological center, business center and congress area.
Looking to develop a strong strategic perspective, as well as to ensure firm support in promotional activities, Cluj ITC Innovation Cluster has established its Strategic Council, a supervisory and strategic management body, with an advisory role. Its members are high rated personalities in the economic and political environment, whose experience and networking can provide valuable support both for establishing the strategic directions of the cluster, and for promoting its interests.
The members of the Strategic Council are: Daniel Chitoiu – Minister of Economy, Trade and Business Environment; Mihai Alexandru Voicu – Minister Delegate for Business Environment; Calin Popescu Tariceanu – former Prime Minister; Eduard Helvig – Minister of Regional Development and Tourism; Julian Hingley – Director Transylvania College; Lucian Isar – Former Minister Delegate for Business Environment; Ronald Binkofski – CEO Microsoft Romania; Florin Pogonaru – President of the Businessmen’s Association of Romania; Dan Sandu – Executive President Nextebank; Christophe Bajc – Director, Xoomworks. Permanent guests: Horea Uioreanu – Chairman of the Cluj County Council, Cluj ITC Innovation Cluster Vice President; James A. Cunningham – Commercial Counselor U.S. Commercial Service.
Source: MECMA Press Release, Adevărul.