The intention was to provide support for clusters involving research centres and businesses in thematic areas where there is competitive advantage and where intensity of knowledge, high technology and export orientation are brought together to enable the businesses involved to acquire an international profile and a significant global market share in their individual sectors.
The first results are already apparent, namely:
- The number of business members of mi-clusters has been increasing at a spectacular rate, already totalling 34 businesses compared with just 13 at the launch of the programme, including the establishment of 2 new research sections within multinational companies.
- The first significant step has been taken towards building a bridge between universities and research centres in a specific thematic area, with the recent inclusion into the mi-Cluster of 15 university laboratories and electronics institutes from all over Greece, making an important contribution to the networking of businesses with more than five hundred actively involved researchers and postgraduates.
- The total turnover of the business members of the mi-Cluster has now exceeded 60 m.€, compared with 23m € at the outset of the programme.
- The strong export orientation has been retained, accounting for 75% of overall turnover of the business members of the mi-Cluster.
- More than 700 specialists are now employed, compared with just 275 at the commencement of the programme, while 100 new jobs are currently available for specialist personnel.
- The business members hold or have filed applications for 45 patents, compared with just 13 at the start of the Programme, while by August the number is expected to rise to 56 – an extraordinary figure for Greece.
- To date three Career Days have been organized (Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras) in order to attract young scientists and brief them at first hand on the opportunities now available in Greece in the microelectronics and integrated systems sectors. The intention, according to the professors involved in the events, is to attract the most talented students into these sectors, at both postgraduate and doctoral level. More than five hundred postgraduate students and doctoral candidates attended these events, of which two more are currently being planned, with the cooperation of universities all over Greece.
- Approaches have been made to Greek students, researchers, scientists and businessmen abroad (New York, Boston, California), through targeted events at universities (Stanford, Columbia, MIT, North-Eastern) and through our official missions in the US (Greek consulates, Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce), assisting in the strategic objective of repatriating persons and finance to promote the further development of the potential already present in our country’s industry.
- The tight geographical concentration and bringing together of the businesses at the Microelectronics Innovation Centre in Marousi has brought tangible advantages, strengthening the chain of production of the ecosystem, increasing individual commercial collaborations between businesses, achieving significant economies of scale, with shared suppliers and common channels for product promotion. Business relations and joint research activities, once non-existent, are now robust, creating significant economy of objectives.
- The Microelectronics Innovation Centre in Marousi has become the focal point for the microelectronics industry in Greece and a forum which has seen the staging of more than 1,000 meetings, conferences, seminars, presentations etc.
- More than 20 seminars and conferences have been organized to provide high-level training and education for staff of the mi-Cluster members, covering significant areas associated with protection of intellectual property, project management, product management and development, use of specialist planning tools in microelectronics, etc.
- Cooperation agreements have been signed with venture capital managers to involve them in the work of the cluster and promote the strategic placing of investments in the members of the mi-Cluster.
- A memorandum of cooperation has been signed with the Sophia-Antipolis foundation, which has led to a proposal for cooperation between the two agencies in the creation of a "Pan-European platform for innovation and clusters", while possibilities are being explored for the development of actions for shared projects in Research and Development between Greek and French technology companies. Similar collaborations have been initiated with corresponding clusters or cluster initiatives in Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Estonia, Germany, Korea, Israel and other countries.
- The project has earned significant positive publicity, with more than 250 articles and features being published in the Greek and international press since the undertaking was launched. The www.corallia.org website receives more than 100,000 hits a month.
- Corallia has been designated a ‘best practice’ among the projects of the EU structural funds implemented under the supervision of the Directorate General for Business and Industry, since the remarkable ground-breaking work being attempted in the OP ‘Competitiveness’ has been described as a model for the implementation of similar actions in other member states.
- The communication strategy for Corallia in the year 2007 was awarded pan-European distinction in the category ‘Technologies’ of the European Excellence Awards, among other very significant contributions from Panasonic, Sony, Linden Lab, etc., as well as the ERMIS award.
- Greek positions on the creation of clusters have been included in the European initiatives seeking to make the cluster a basic pillar of European policy for innovation in the period 2007 – 2013.
- Efforts have been made to promote the label ‘Innovation MADE IN GREECE’, in an attempt to reverse the old negative impressions and stereotypes in respect of the export capacity of Greek technology.
- As well as the above, the mi-Cluster has launched a number of community projects, such as the creation of a microelectronics blood bank and other initiatives.
In respect of the 13 businesses receiving aid directly in the first phase of the Programme:
- Turnover has shown an average increase of 48.7%, against a target of 10%.
- Patent applications filed have increased by 218%, against a target of 50%
- Exports have enjoyed an average increase of 36.4%, against a target of 30%.
- Employment has seen an average increase of 40.4%, against a target of 20%.