U.S. Economic Development Administration and Harvard Business School Unveil Brand New U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry Website


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the launch of the U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry project (http://clustermapping.us), a national economic initiative based at Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness and supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry project aims to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by understanding the economic performance of clusters and regions across the United States.

Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected industries and supportive organizations that make regions uniquely competitive for jobs and private investment. The Cluster Mapping and Registry website provides access to rich, open data about regional economies and clusters, empowering regions, economic developers, and businesses to make key decisions. This new website goes beyond the original cluster mapping data by leveraging broader, more granular, and more up-to-date datasets. It also integrates detailed statistical analyses using county-level business data, including metrics on regional economic performance and business environments.

“Effective regional economic outcomes rely on the policymakers, businesses, and other stakeholders having a solid understanding of the region’s strengths and economic opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “This tool reinforces the federal government’s commitment to promote America’s clusters and provide businesses and organizations with the data and strategies they need to capitalize on their region’s assets.”

“Regional economies are the building blocks of U.S. competitiveness. The nation’s ability to produce high-value products and services depends on the creation and strengthening of regional clusters of industries that become hubs of innovation,” said Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. “Clusters enhance productivity and spur innovation by bringing together technology, information, specialized talent, competing companies, academic institution, and other organizations. Close proximity, and the accompanying tight linkages, yield better market insights, more refined researches agendas, larger pools of specialized talent, and faster deployment of new knowledge.”

Clusters are a striking feature of all modern economies and play a fundamental role in regional job growth, wages, and patenting, as well as the survival of start-ups and recovery from recessions. At a time when U.S. regions are competing not only with one another, but also with regions and cities around the world, it is critical for the United States to reevaluate its regional economic challenges in order to strengthen its position in the global economy and achieve sustainable growth.

By partnering with Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, this project addresses key policy implications of clusters as an instrument to reinvigorate U.S. competitiveness and lay the foundation for more sustainable economic growth. This resource will provide a modern web experience, with access to actionable cluster and regional data reflecting the state of today’s economy. With an extensive organization registry, this tool can help connect businesses with the organizations that are promoting their clusters. The project allows users to share and discuss best practices in economic development, policy and innovation by compiling a user-contributed repository of cluster initiatives, studies, and news reports.

EDA is leading a number of multi-agency initiatives focused on helping regions develop their clusters. These coordinated investments help break down silos so that the federal government can be a more effective partner to communities and regions. Since fiscal year 2010, Commerce and EDA have invested in more than 65 collaborative, interagency investments throughout the country including the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, the Make it in America Challenge, and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

About the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (www.isc.hbs.edu)

The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, founded and led by Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, studies competition and its implications for company strategy; the competitiveness of nations, regions and cities; and solutions to social problems. The Institute is dedicated to extending the research pioneered by Professor Porter and disseminating it to scholars and practitioners on a global basis. Michael Porter received the first Lifetime Achievement Award in Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2008. The award will be presented only rarely, when a private citizen's body of work and assistance to the federal government has significantly enhanced the nation's approach to economic development.


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