Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, Nelson Mail -- The evidence on economic development from throughout the world is quite clear: regions that are home to dynamic clusters and companies that are rooted in such clusters (such as Silicon Valley, home to Apple, Adobe, Cisco, Facebook, eBay, Google, Yahoo, YouTube and 7000 other firms) do better. One cluster I have visited is in Reykjavik, Iceland, a city familiar to many involved in Nelson's fishing industry. I have visited Hampidjan, whose New Zealand operations are based in Nelson, and Marel, the world's leading manufacturer of portion control machinery. Equipment from both Icelandic firms is on many Nelson trawlers. But Reykjavik is not resting on its laurels.
There is an Iceland Ocean Cluster initiative with a broad development agenda, supporting 60 high-growth firms which service and add value to their fishing resource. Evolving clusters such as Silicon Valley and Reykjavik provide economic stability to their region. More than 1000 clustering initiatives are under way throughout Europe, initiatives that bring together firms, public agencies, training and research and development organisations. A strong economy in the global environment is no longer a little of everything - rather a number of deep specialisations with clusters of related firms and support organisations.