Building on THE NEXT SOCIETY project, Berytech, in partnership with Anima Investment Network, launched the ‘Scale-up voucher for Clusters’ project offering a technical assistance voucher to assist regional clusters in developing their growth strategy and expanding business opportunities for their cluster members.
Six clusters were selected from the Mediterranean region, Tunisia, Morocco & Lebanon, to benefit from this opportunity based on their mission, track records, growth plan, and milestones.
Berytech has created a series of interviews with the six clusters to learn more about their work, the success they have had in building an impactful cluster and the challenges they face.
Meet Valbiom Cluster, Morocco
Introduce your cluster, its objective, the industry it works in, and the type of companies it gathers.
The general objectives of the Valbiom Morocco Cluster are to research and develop innovative, collaborative projects in the field of waste and biomass recovery in Morocco.
We have a mixed private/public governance structure bringing together the actors concerned with the recovery of waste and biomass in Morocco. We work on the promotion of innovative, collaborative projects allowing the creation of employment and added value for all the regions of Morocco.
The cluster gathers companies, startups, SMEs, and cooperatives established in different regions of Morocco, with a central core in the Oriental region of Morocco.
The cluster is also made up of institutions, universities, research institutes in Morocco, and national and international NGOs.
What has been the impact of your cluster on the industry it works in?
Since its creation, the cluster has offered several services for the benefit of industrialists and startups. It has also organized technical training for the various industries in Morocco in the field of development and waste recycling and has produced technical and scientific solutions at the request of institutional and industrial partners and has supported dozens of start-ups and innovative collaborative projects.
What is the importance of your cluster in particular and creating clusters in general to your country?
In 2009, the state launched a strategy to support clusters in Morocco to boost national industry through innovation.
In this logic, the objectives of the Valbiom Cluster are in harmony with the strategic orientations of the Government in terms of recovery and recycling of waste and renewable energy and the environment.
The State seeks to promote the emergence of clusters around the industrial and technological sectors with a single objective, that of creating a hundred innovative collaborative projects.
At the local level, the cluster plays a unifying role for public-private operators, and between institutions, universities, and the private sector.
What are the main advantages that companies receive from being in your cluster?
Members of the cluster benefit from the following advantages:
– Technical and scientific support.
– Benefit from technical training provided by the cluster
– Use the shared innovation platform to carry out projects and prototypes
– Exhibit their product at fairs for its members
– The cluster supports the dissertation and patent filing of its members.
What are the main challenges you face while achieving your main objective?
The challenges can be summarized as follows:
– Insufficient financial means and state subsidy
– The innovation platform does not have the technical and human resources to support startups and projects.
– The remoteness of the PIM (Shared Innovation Platform) from the cluster’s headquarters and the cluster’s lack of means of transport limit the ambitions of young people and startups.
– The duration of the program contract with the state is short for the achievement of the objectives
– Synergy with politicians and elected officials depends on political variables
What kind of support do you wish to receive in the future?
The current needs of the Valbiom cluster are at two levels:
- The need for support from donors to the cluster for the realization of the PRVRD (Regional project for the recovery and recycling of waste)
- Technical need to expand the PIM with a Fab Lab and laboratory equipment to better meet the needs of inventors and startups, and to put a means of transport at their disposal to ensure a suitable daily trip.
THE NEXT SOCIETY is an open community of change-makers, entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, NGOs, public and private innovation, research, and economic development hubs from Europe and 7 Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. It aims at mobilizing, promoting, and reinforcing innovation ecosystems and economic development in the MENA region.