Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster – proving that clusters matter

March 18, 2015

A five-year evaluation of the Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster shows impressive results. The initiative has not only created over 1000 new jobs, it has also provided start-up aid for over 100 new cleantech businesses while attracting international companies and giving Denmark international attention as one of the leading cleantech nations in the world.


Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster (CCC) started in 2009 as the biggest cluster project in Europe. The goal was to strengthen Danish cleantech industry and create new business opportunities. CCC has achieved these goals, proving not only that clusters matter, but that they have an immense impact on the society’s welfare.


The long list of outcomes include creating 1089 new jobs, 64 new research collaborations, 38 new company partnerships, attracting 12 international companies and supporting 126 entrepreneurial businesses. All goals were met and as many Danish projects, they even exceeded expectation.


From EU funded project to independent cluster organization


The Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster impact does not end here. The project was financed by the Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand and the EU Structural Funds totalling approximately 24 million dollars, but it found a way to outlive its initial investment.


In May 2014, CCC merged with Lean Energy Cluster bringing the two organizations into a nationwide cleantech cluster called CLEAN. With more than 170 members, CLEAN continues the work and makes sure that Denmark retains its leading position within development and production of cleantech solutions in the world.


What was this cluster’s recipe?


The impressive results achieved in the past five years were in large part due to the contribution of Quercus Group Founder, Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll, who was one of the main driving forces behind the CCC project and served as Head of Secretariat 2008-2012.


He mentions some of the key ingredients behind this cluster: “We tried to be very concrete from day one in terms of defining clear measurable goals and a decentralized but strictly coordinated approach in which all parts were involved. Everyone was empowered to participate towards the shared mission”.

Furthermore, individual stakeholders found the proper environment to do what they were best at, towards the cluster’s common goal. He also added that aiming for international exposure since day one, long-term financing, full focus on output and a comprehensive exit strategy were the main tools in getting these great results.


 “The evaluation of CCC proves that clusters work and matter if you make sure to have clear goals and KPIs and an organizational set-up that enables the stakeholders to work for the cluster and provide shared value rather than having a scenario in which the cluster has to do everything by itself.” said Nicolai Sederberg Rottbøll.


You can read more about the project evaluation in Danish here and visit CLEAN’s website to find out more about it.



This article was put together with a guest contributor – Mia Schomacker-Hoff.



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