GCE NODE is among Europe’s top business clusters and has a Gold Label to prove it.

“This is a great acknowledgement of the work we do in NODE. We are proud to have had our Gold Label renewed after a thorough evaluation”, says Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE.

Since 2009, the European Cluster Excellence Initiative, initiated by the European Commission, has been aiming for the development of methodologies and tools in order to support cluster organizations to improve their capabilities in the management of networks and clusters. Based on a uniform set of cluster management quality indicators, each cluster is evaluated and labeled.

“The overall approach is the creation of an independent, voluntary proof of cluster management excellence which is accepted and recognized all over Europe, or even beyond. It is not only aimed at the distinction between “good” and “bad”, but to motivate cluster managers to take part in an improvement process, to become better by comparing with others and learning from the best”, explains Thomas Lämmer-Gamp, director at the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis.

31 quality indicators are assessed, and for each quality indicator a specific quality threshold has to be passed. The Gold Label is awarded to cluster organizations with a total score of at least 80 per cent.

GCE NODE scored 94 per cent.

“We do not disclose the score of other clusters, but I can confirm that GCE NODE is among the top 10 per cent of European clusters, says Lämmer-Gamp.

He was impressed by NODE.

“Whereas other cluster are mainly focused on their industry, GCE NODE goes further and is characterized by a broader, regional perspective. This does not effect the evaluation, but it is a distinct feature that sets NODE apart from most other European clusters”, says Lämmer-Gamp.

NODE were among the first clusters to be gold labeled. Today, 57 clusters in 11 European countries hold the Gold Label.

The “Cluster Management Excellence Label Gold: Proven for Cluster Excellence” of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative acknowledges cluster organizations that demonstrate highly sophisticated cluster management and that are committed to further improve their organizational structures and routines for the benefit of an even higher performance.

In order to qualify for the “Cluster Management Excellence Label Gold” cluster management organizations need to meet certain “levels of excellence” in terms of structure of the cluster, governance, financing, strategy and services and recognition. In the course of a two-day thorough assessment conducted by two neutral cluster analysis experts 31 indicators are assessed. The assessment scheme was developed by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) (www.cluster-excellence.eu), which – being initiated by the European Commission – gathered 13 organizations from nine European countries, all well experienced in the field of cluster management and cluster policy.

The objective of the scheme is not only to identify the best cluster management organizations in Europe, but also support the cluster management organizations with advice in the course of the assessment on how to further improve.