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Melanie Sonntag


Melanie Sonntag
Leiterin Interessentenmanagement
+49 69 305-81051
+49 69 305 16277

Provadis School of International Management and Technology AG
Industriepark Höchst, Gebäude B845
65926 Frankfurt am Main

Cluster Accelerator Programme

Are you ready to increase the impact of your cluster?

Join our  hands-on programme for cluster managers and practitioners!

Less management, more leadership – that is what clusters need if they want to meet the sustainability goals and tackle societal challenges. But how can we become leaders of change? How can we inspire cluster practitioners to transform their innovation ecosystem into a cluster of change? Systemic change needs competent change-makers, and this is why we created the first European Cluster Accelerator (TheCAP).

Twenty cluster managers from eleven European countries participated in the first edition of TheCAP in October 2019. During our intense four-day bootcamp, we created individual cluster roadmaps, defined action plans and formed new bonds and collaborations across various sector and country borders.


Interested to learn more? Have a look at some of the key takeaways, tools and lessons learned from Europe’s first Cluster Accelerator theCAP in our Manual„Creating Clusters of Change – How cluster managers drive innovation and increase impact“.

The 7 Stepping Stones of Clusters of Change

1. Be open and collaborative

2. Be interconnected europe-wide and globally

3. Connect clusters cross-sectorally

4. Place Entrepreneurship and Innovators at the heart of Clusters

5. Drive change and lead Innovation

6. Become Centres of Excellence in skilling and reskilling people

7. Become an accelerator of the sustainable development goals

Interested to participate? Sign up here and we will inform you once the new CAP will be launched!

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Your head coach

Bianca Dragomir

Bianca Dragomir is devoted to building open, fresh, bold, entrepreneurship-driven ecosystems, inspiring leaders of change and generating a new generation of clusters across Europe and beyond.

Bianca joined AVAESEN, one of Spain's leading cleantech clusters, in 2013. She launched the first climate-specific start-up accelerator in Spain and expanded it across 12 European countries, in a partnership with EIT Climate-KIC. Bianca is Founder of the first Spanish Think Thank Smart Cities and National Leader of ClimateLaunchpad Spain, the Global Green Business Idea Competition, since 2014.

Bianca is the first woman to be awarded as 'European Cluster Manager of the Year’ by European Commission (2016).


Your CAP manager

Carolin Hendrys

Carolin Hendrys is passioned by building and developing innovation ecosystems, always striving to encourage connections, exchange of ideas and co-create new opportunities for cluster development.

Carolin joined the Centre for Industry and Sustainability at Provadis Hochschule in 2018 and leads the EIT Climate-KIC project ConnectedCluster.

During the course of this two-year project, Climate-KIC’s ConnectedClusters project supported the shift towards place-based climate innovation by developing new collaborative approaches to technology, procurement, investment and training. As a result, the first European Cluster Accelerator Programme was launched.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with carolin.hendrysprovadis-hochschule.de directly.

More about us

The Center for Industry and Sustainability (Zentrum für Industrie und Nachhaltigkeit – ZIN) at the Provadis School of International Management and Technology conducts extensive research and carries out innovative education projects that provide hands-on solutions for a more sustainable industry. We support start-ups and companies, qualify students and practitioners on sustainable innovations and work on cutting edge solutions for the circular economy and cluster development. The centre follows an interdisciplinary approach and focuses on close cooperation with national and international partners from science, industry and the public sector.

TheCAP is supported by EIT Climate-KIC: one of Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Climate-KIC identifies and encourages innovation that helps society mitigate and adapt to climate change.

European Voices – What theCAP participants say

Pirkko Taskinen

Director of AIF Water Ecosystem, University of Oulu, Finland

“Coming to TheCAP, funding was my cluster’s biggest current challenge as our government funding is about to run out and a new model is needed. After the four days, I’m confirmed in my belief that our current research driven ecosystem doesn’t have enough speed and scale. It needs to be more business-driven and capital needs to be brought in. I’m going to propose a new public-private funding model. And the workshop provided me with lots of input and guidance for a very practical issue I’m currently having to address. I think that many cluster managers could benefit from such a training where they actually learn what to do in the first place. I would have done things differently if I had gone through this course before I started my work with clusters.”

Fabrizio Ciarmatori

Project Manager, ART-ER, Italy

“I work for an innovation agency that sits between seven innovation and technology clusters on the one hand and the regional government who initiated them on the other. I attended TheCAP with the goal of learning methodologies to bring back to our cluster managers and the policy makers. The main challenge for cluster managers is to orchestrate all the activities and different objectives and interests of a variety of stakeholders. Tools such as the cluster roadmap design are very useful to provide an overall picture for people to see all that’s involved and discuss it with them.

My plan now is to arrange such as session with our clusters jointly with all the stakeholders because everyone needs to buy into the whole process.”

Veronica Elena Bocci

Cluster Coordinator, DITECFER, Italy

“I’ve been running a rail technologies cluster for eight years and the biggest challenge is member engagement. Your members need to take ownership of your vision and share it. Often, they have not fully understood yet what our cluster can do, and one of the learnings from TheCAP for me is that our process needs to be shared better with them. They need to see that we’re on the right way with our business model and I’m now planning to use the tools we worked with during the workshop at our next board meeting. For example, the cluster roadmap design will enable them to see that it is about a long-term vision and plan. I’m currently also working on our catalogue of services that our cluster offers to members. This will be fine-tuned now, and the launch will be accompanied by storytelling. I don’t just want them to accept the things presented to them but to fully share in what we’re doing.”

Jamie Meehan

Senior Researcher, Cork Institute of Technology/Cyber Ireland, Ireland

“Our major challenge is establishing an innovation-driven ecosystem. The current business model of the Cyber Ireland cluster needs to evolve, with entrepreneurship and capital becoming part of the current triple helix environment. A key learning from TheCAP for me is also that trust and collaboration are absolutely key for cluster development. I will be able to take the learnings from this workshop directly into an innovation and strategy meeting – to look at, for example, our value proposition. In general, I feel that the peer-to-peer learning has been exceptional, which is crucial for this kind of accelerator programme.”

Julija Maslinskaite

Cluster Facilitator, Cleantech Cluster Lithuania

“Cleantech is a very wide sphere, combining many different fields and industries. Establishing a value chain that includes all our members is a challenge, but I feel confident after TheCAP to know how to move forward. A cluster’s value proposition is definitely key, and my biggest takeaway is that European clusters have to be bold and adapt the growth strategy of start-ups: work fast, with focus and be ready to scale.”

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