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Harvard Business School guru Michael Porter, father of the economic cluster, is to help US policy-makers formulate economic development tools to kick-start the US economy.

The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at HBS has been chosen by the US Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to lead the Cluster Mapping Project, intended to map out the economic clusters that already exist in every corner of the US, as well as develop tool kits and case studies to help formulate strategies for economic development.

Clusters, as defined by Prof Porter, are geographic concentrations of companies, support services, and specialised organisations that arise in specific locations for specific industries. Examples of clusters in the US are in Los Angeles (film), Silicon Valley (IT) and Maine (boat-building).

“There is growing statistical evidence that clusters play a fundamental role in regional job growth, wages, patenting, and new company formation,” says Prof Porter. “At a time when our nation needs to reinvigorate its competitiveness and lay the foundations for more sustainable growth, cluster development is one of the key policy agendas that we cannot afford to neglect.”

As well as HBS, the Entrepreneurship Centre at MIT and the Fox Business School at Temple University are lead partners in the project.


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