Left-right: Marit Werner (ESCA), Dharun Sehjpal (GCE NODE), Tor-Arne Bellika (ESCA), Anne-Grete Ellingsen (GCE NODE), Helmut Kergel (ESCA), Karin Skalman (ESCA) and Audun Skare (GCE NODE) met in Kristiansand Thursday for an evaluation of GCE NODE’s management team and the way the cluster operates.

GCE NODE was one of the first European clusters to earn a Gold Label for management excellence. Thursday, evaluators came to make a new assessment.

“There is no doubt that GCE NODE still deserves its Gold Label. We are here to find areas for improvements to help GCE NODE provide even better services for its participants,” says Norwegian Tor-Arne Bellika, who heads the evaluation process together with German colleague Helmut Kergel.

Bellika and Kergel are among approximately 150 experts certified by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) to perform cluster organization quality assessments. More than 1000 European clusters have been subject to similar ESCA evaluations.

This is the third time GCE NODE is being evaluated. Starting in 2012, GCE NODE was one of only three European clusters to qualify for the Gold Level. This was confirmed in 2015, when GCE NODE was assessed to be among the top 10 European clusters.

In a meeting with the ESCA representatives in Kristiansand Thursday, Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE, gave a thorough presentation of the cluster and a run-through of an extensive self-evaluation submitted to the evaluators in advance.

“We are always looking for areas in which we can improve. We appreciate the opportunity to have senior evaluators examine us and give advice based on their knowledge of other international cluster managements. We are happy to learn that we live up the standards of the Gold Label, which is a credit to the entire GCE NODE team and the way the cluster operates,” says Ellingsen.

Swedish Marit Werner and Karin Skalman participated in the evaluation. They are to be certified to do similar evaluations in Sweden.