EuraMaterials is a cluster that supports and promotes the materials processing industries.
Our team works with businesses and the research community, giving them the tools to find solutions, achieve results and grow, all with the help of our network of members and partners from France and further afield.
Our raison d’être: supporting and promoting the materials processing industries
Innovation increasingly occurs at the crossroads of different professions and materials: this is why we make it easier for specialists in various materials – such as textiles, cardboard, plastic, glass, composites, ceramic, wood and metal – to meet and exchange ideas. This puts us in prime position to support and promote all the materials processing industries.
Our results-driven team forges relationships and fosters collaborations between business owners and researchers and provides them with information and support, enabling them to find solutions, innovate, open up new markets and expand.
Our ambition is to be the go-to European cluster for the new materials processing industries. To achieve this, we draw on the support of our network of corporate members and innovative project partners established in the Hauts-de-France region in north-eastern France and across the country, as well as Belgium, Germany, Austria and Japan, among others.
What do we mean by ‘cluster’?
There are as many definitions of the concept of an industrial cluster as there are authors on the subject! Take M. Porter, S. Rosenfeld, M. Einright and P. Cooke, for instance. Despite the range of definitions, they all reflect the enthusiasm that various communities (such as businesses, research units and training bodies) have for banding together and creating a network focused on a shared sector in a particular geographic area. The goal is to establish partnerships and form economic, research-based or regional alliances, for example.
We describe ourselves as a cluster that supports and promotes the materials processing industries, with a nod to the European definition of ‘industrial clusters’.
Industrial clusters: genuine tools for economic development on a European scale
According to the European Commission(1), clusters are groups comprising specialised businesses and other connected, supporting parties in a particular geographic area, which work together closely. Together, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be more innovative and create more jobs than those working in isolation. Clusters are a major part of the industrial landscape: there are around 3,000 specialised clusters in Europe, accounting for 54 million jobs, which have demonstrated resilience during economic crises.
The European Union’s industrial policy strategy recognises clusters as powerful economic development tools to support industrial innovation out in the field. Their importance is also emphasised for the reinforcement of innovation in Europe’s regions, and the start-up and scale-up of businesses.
Europe highlights four crucial roles for clusters:
- boosting collaboration and connecting businesses by building bridges between European ecosystems
- supporting innovation take-up, internationalisation and scaling-up of SMEs
- setting up transnational partnerships to improve access to global value chains for SMEs
- acting as change agents for businesses, pushing them towards a digital (with the industry 4.0 concept) and carbon-neutral (or even carbon-positive) transformation
Six ways we promote and support the economic development of businesses and jobs
EuraMaterials receives support from the European Union, the French State, the Hauts-de-France region, the Métropole Européenne de Lille (MEL) and the Communauté d’agglomération du Pays de Saint-Omer (CAPSO).
Our public-sector partners have entrusted us with six main tasks:
- innovate to promote and support jobs and business competitiveness
- rally together and coordinate an ecosystem in a geographic area
- support innovation and development
- enhance the attractiveness of the geographic area
- help businesses develop internationally
- support those who want to start businesses and scale start-ups
Our organisation is registered as an association under the French ‘law of 1901’, meaning it is governed by the law of 1 July 1901 and the decree of 16 August 1901.
Our European and international scope
We implement an international development strategy, both for our cluster and for the benefit of our network (members and partners), in three geographic areas:
- European Union (collaborative projects and the commercial development of businesses)
- other countries around the world (technological partnerships and the opening of new markets)
Focus on the French-Belgian Euroregion
We also draw on the advantages presented by the cross-border region, known as a ‘Euroregion’. Our location in the north of France has helped us create strong relationships with businesses, universities and technical centres in the Hauts-de-France & Belgium cross-border zone. Our partnership with the Centexbel/VKC competence centre is a concrete example of this.
The complementary nature of this industrial and technological approach in the materials processing industries was highlighted back in 2014, with the TANDEM project.
We have been awarded four accreditations and certifications
1) The ‘pôle de compétitivité’ (competitiveness cluster) accreditation awarded by the French government
In February 2019, the French government officially chose EuraMaterials to be one of 48 competitiveness clusters for the 2019-2022 period.
This accreditation encourages the excellence and European outreach of the materials processing industries.
What are competitiveness clusters?
The French state launched competitiveness clusters in 2004 to back innovation, encourage the development of particularly innovative collaborative R&D projects, and support the development and growth of their members. Competitiveness clusters are drivers for growth and jobs, as they enable the businesses involved to occupy a prominent position in their markets in France and abroad.
→ Video (in French): Dessine-moi l’éco: Qu’est-ce que la compétitivité ? Et comment l’améliorer ?
2) The ‘EU|BIC – European community business and innovation centre’ accreditation awarded by the European Business Network (EBN)
EuraMaterials was awarded the European Business & Innovation Centre (BIC) accreditation by the European Business Network (EBN).
This accreditation acknowledges our ability to support innovative businesses and start-ups.
What is the EU|BIC accreditation?
The EU|BIC accreditation is awarded to an international community of organisations, following a certification process set up by the EBN network. It provides European recognition of the ability to successfully connect and coach developers of innovative projects, business owners and SMEs, to promote and support the economic development of a specific geographic area.
3) The ‘Parc d’Innovation’ (innovation centre) accreditation awarded by the Hauts-de-France region
In May 2020, the Hauts-de-France region officially awarded EuraMaterials the Parc d’Innovation accreditation.
This accreditation endorses the incubation and acceleration aspect of our service offering, in particular.
What is a Hauts-de-France Parc d’Innovation?
These innovation centres are specialised facilities: go-to places for the creation, development and establishment of high-tech activities, innovative services, and the industries of the future. They are flagship sites, providing both an exceptional working environment and a broad, high-quality service offering. They aim to bolster local economic development, and they play an active role in the attractiveness of the Hauts-de-France region.
The innovation centre’s role is to make it easier to:
- welcome and support innovative projects aiming to develop, create and ramp up innovative businesses (over an average cycle of -1 to +3 years)
- transfer technology and expand R&D for the benefit of regional businesses, thus bolstering their competitiveness
Source: Hauts-de-France region
4) Certification of our quality management system as per standard ISO 9001:2015
EuraMaterials set up a quality management system, which has been certified as per standard ISO 9001:2015 by Bureau Veritas since January 2020.
This certification confirms the effectiveness of our management system when it comes to supporting the development of businesses in the materials processing industries, through innovation, internationalisation, markets, networks and economic development.
What is standard ISO 9001:2015?
‘ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system. This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.’
Source : ISO
What’s the story behind the creation of the EuraMaterials cluster?
EuraMaterials is the result of the enthusiasm of the members, teams and partners of three entities:
- Matikem, a materials, chemistry and green chemistry competitiveness cluster
- UP-tex, an innovative textiles competitiveness cluster
- GMTH, a clothing, textiles and materials association
Together with CLUBTEX, an association focusing on technical uses for textiles, these entities decided to join forces to promote and support the materials processing industries.
This plan took concrete form in 2019: GMTH, Matikem and Up-tex merged to form the EuraMaterials association, and EuraMaterials and CLUBTEX signed a partnership agreement.