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Growing Industry Clusters Organically
Some have argued that Vivek Wadhwa's claim that industry clustering isn't important is off the mark, i.e., companies still like to locate where others in their field are located. How would respond to that?
 

Les J. Cranmer, Senior Managing Director, Studley, Inc.
I personally believe that industry clustering is a very important factor as a company considers where to locate. More Importantly, I know from personal experience that this is indeed an essential consideration in the eyes of corporate leadership.

Most successful clusters have been created organically — rather than by design. The concept of creating a brand spanking new research park adjacent to a university and hoping to lure large-scale corporate relocations just hasn’t worked. On the other hand, if a major employer has a presence in a specific area, typically, spin-off organizations tend to blossom — and over time, a cluster is formed that attracts other related industry.

I believe economic development groups with a well balanced strategy/policy should not unnaturally force research parks as an attraction magnet, but rather work with both the major employer (retention programs) and the new startups in order to grow the cluster naturally. Once critical mass is in place, other large-scale employers will certainly be attracted.
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