Countdown on to one of Limerick’s most high-powered business conferences

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richard-curranLEADING business journalist, broadcaster and author Richard Curran is set to add further weight to one of Limerick’s most significant business conferences to date as he chairs next week’s International Cluster Conference at the Strand Hotel.

The annual conference – titled ‘Clusters as Drivers of Competitiveness’ – will be held outside Switzerland for the first time when it takes place at the Strand Hotel on Wednesday and Thursday next (September 30 and October 1).

It will give key stakeholders, from public and semi-state sector representatives to academics, an understanding of the benefits that formal business clusters are delivering globally and what’s required to establish them here in Ireland.

Among the key speakers at the event will be one of the world’s leading authorities on clusters, Dr Christian Ketels, of Harvard Business School as well as a host of other leading European and Irish experts on clusters and competitiveness.

Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Pat Daly, Head of Economic Development and Planning at Limerick City and County Council said that the gathering will be a think tank around how Ireland can develop clusters and, in doing so, help drive competitiveness and innovation for companies involved in the clusters.

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“Formal clusters exist across the world but are particularly strong in the likes of Germany, Switzerland and the US and the hosting of this international conference here next week is very much going to put developing clusters here on the agenda. There’s a lot we need to do but what we do already know is that regions with clusters outperform those that don’t.

“Having Richard Curran on board to Chair the event is a great fit also. His RTE documentary, the Battle for Rural Ireland, kick started a debate on balanced regional development and international experience is that clusters can help address regional imbalances by driving growth, competitiveness and innovation.”