Cluj Innovation City – Romania’s Silicon Valley
The Cluj IT Cluster, an organisation that already includes 23 technology companies with a cumulative business of around 100 Million Euros in 2012, will concentrate a majority of its companies in the region on developing innovative IT projects and technologies.
The ‘’Cluj Innovation City’’ project includes development of office spaces, research laboratories and classrooms, public spaces, educational institutions, but also hotels, restaurants and coffee shops, plus other services necessary for those IT business and development platforms to work.
Cluj Innovation City is an urban development project and will concentrate the largest number of IT companies in the region and which, through the complementary services it integrates, will create a number of jobs, with a regional as well as an international impact. This mix of functionalities will ensure durable development for the region and will bring a series of economical and social benefits.
We have taken the first step in this project’s development this week, in a meeting between Cluj IT Cluster representatives and representatives of the local and central public administrations as well as representatives of academia, together with business experts and consultants, as well as potential investors, where we presented the Cluj Innovation City project. The discussions focused on growing internal and international promotion activities, transforming the Cluj Innovation City project into a regional, strategic project, as well raising the level of competition in Cluj, in relation with other counties in the region.
The long- term plan for companies which are part of this cluster is to develop a project similar to the Silicon Valley area in the US. Cluj is currently the largest exporter of IT services in Romania. Bucharest has the largest IT turnover numbers, but those numbers are bolstered by government projects.
Cluj IT Cluster wants to initiate IT projects which would attract European funding of around 10 Million Euros this year. The companies which make up the cluster do not currently have the size necessary to handle larger projects by themselves.
Besides IT companies, the cluster also includes public administration structures as well as the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and the Babeş-Bolyai University. Cluster management is organised into three structures: a board of directors with nine members who were selected through voting, a strategic and a scientific board, the latter having a consultative role and a variable number of members. Both Universities have a spot allotted to them on the board of directors.
The cluster members want to create a local variant of the famous Silicon Valley area in the US within approximately 15 years, namely a modern city extension of Cluj that would host company headquarters, competency centres, conference areas, an area designed for events and hotels.