The common misconception of initiating, developing and activating business clusters and collaborations to drive economic development, is that you need lots of $’s!

Perhaps this is driven by the European Union funding model, which is highly successful but one which is not going to be readily replicated in Australia.

True you do need a resource – one who can engage and deliver, along with some investment $’s to fund things such as meeting venues, and the initial actions to build momentum. Even better if you can leverage some private sector contributions!

Remember that without action, you have no momentum, and without relationships you will have neither!

Andrew Quain

So, a few guiding principles to help you along the way:

  • Economic Research: identify the key sectors (and emerging sectors) in your economy. Those which if brought together would have a significant impact.
  • Conversations and Relationships: identify and meet with the key business leaders and owners in those sectors. Which businesses are investing for growth? Identify those businesses open to change, and who are already collaborating.
  • Focus on a niche: one or two sectors or sub sectors to start, and their inter connections.
  • Create the energy: bring them together to discuss the opportunity and build trust. Gain support and demonstrate value through some ‘quick wins’. This will enable you to continue to build interest, energy and participation. You will also need to move to joint ownership by all parties, you will not succeed on your own!

As Executive Officer, with Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay, I used these simple principals to build collaborations, industry groups and clusters across manufacturing, food and beverage, digital and ICT, professional services, international trade and Chambers of Commerce.

Through my own business ‘Economic Development Queensland’, I am focused on supporting the development of business collaborations and clusters across Australia.

For an initial discussion, please do not hesitate to contact me:

Andrew Quain

E: [email protected]

M: 0400 764 862


This blog post was kindly provided by Andrew Quain, Andrew presented at the 2017 Regional Development Conference.

For more information on the upcoming 2018 Regional Development Conference please visit


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