• Competitiveness and innovation position
• Competitiveness and innovation policy
• Belgian presidency of EU
• Examples of good practices
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• About us
Since 1999, the Government of Wallonia has decided to boost the Walloon re-development in a more integrated way and to develop this strategy in coherence with the European strategic orientations. So, it developed a global development strategy, called the Contract for the Future of Wallonia. This strategic document has some important features : it is based on a long-term perspective, and aims at involving all the Walloon citizens in the development of their Region. It is also linked with the Lisbon Agenda, and in particular the main objectives related to it.
In August 2005, the Government of Wallonia decided to dedicate important budgets to a Priority Action Plan, also called the “Marshall Plan” which aims at giving a qualitative jump to the economy of the Region. This Plan developed structural reforms under 5 priorities :
In 2009, the orientations of the Marshall Plan were confirmed by the new government of Wallonia in "2.green" version placing greater emphasis on eco-efficiency and green technologies.
With a total budget of 1,6 billion € for the 2005-2009 period and 2,7 billion for the 2010-2014 period, those plans represents a substantial effort of the Region to foster its economic development. It has also to be noticed that projects supported by the European funds (European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund) are following the strategic orientations of the Marshall Plan.
Consistent with those strategic orientations, the new industrial policy developed in Wallonia mainly focused on the development of industrial networking though two complementary and linked policies : Competitiveness Poles and clustering.
Competitiveness Poles policy :
Within the framework of its "Plan Marshall", the Government of Wallonia has initiated in 2005 a Competitiveness Pole policy. The main objective of this policy was to develop some key growth sectors on the basis of strong partnership projects between enterprises, research centres and training centres.
The submitted creation projects were analysed by an independent jury and, on the basis of its recommendations, the Government of Wallonia labelled five Poles and their firsts projects at the mid-2006 : Skywin (Aeronautics and space industry), Biowin (Health), Wagralim (Agro-industry), Logistics in Wallonia (Transport and logistics), Mecatech (Mechanical Engineering). The possibility of creating a Sixth Pole in environmental technologies is currently under consideration.
To support the Competitiveness poles, the Government is launching, on a regular basis, calls for projects on their behalf. These projects can be of four kinds:
In addition, for each Pole, a sectoral expert and a linking agent were recruited with a view to developing an international promotion strategy for the Pole.
The Government is also financing the animation costs of the poles (identification, presentation and management of projects, networking activities,…) up to EUR 250,000, provided that fifty percent of the total costs are financed by the private sector.
Since 2006, a substantial public budget (280 million € between 2006-2009 and 338 million € scheduled for the 2010-2014 period) has been allocated to support these projects. So far, four calls for projects have been closed, plus a specific Sustainable development call. The selection process is unchanged : the projects are analysed by the independent jury, and then the selection is operated by the Government.
In terms of results, over the 2006-2009 period, 136 projects have been supported for a 235,480,423 € overall amount of public support. These are mainly research or training projects. These projects are expected to generate 9,287 jobs eventually.
Clustering Policy :
After conducting a survey to develop a Walloon concept of Clustering in 2000, this policy was launched in 2001. After an experimental stage until 2006, a Cluster Decree was adopted, providing established legal grounds to the policy. The objective of this policy is to develop business networks in specific domains, eventually with research operators, and, doing so, to develop a cooperation framework and a stronger economic structure within the sector. This policy is developed using a bottom-up approach, the Public authorities acting only as a catalyst for the spontaneous demands of companies networks. That means that enterprises are the drivers of the initiatives and their development.
Our current achievements are the following ones :
It's important to mention that many clusters have been the driver of the development of competitiveness poles and that there is a close interaction between those policies.