UNIDO Cluster Development Programme has promoted the cluster development concept during the last ten years in India, through a range of cluster initiatives. While the initial set of initiatives focused on economic growth through collective efficiency, of late UNIDO has taken up two action research projects, each of 3 years’ duration, with emphasis on two critical areas – clusters and poverty alleviation, and secondly, clusters and social responsibility of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Both subjects are of immense significance, especially with respect to the social dimensions of economic growth.
While the project on poverty & clusters will be concluded in June 2006, the one on social responsibility of SMEs is planned for completion in May 2008. Both Projects are funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) with the objective of exploring the changes required in standard cluster development approach that will then help addressing these social issues more effectively and efficiently.
In order to share and validate the learning that emerged during project implementation and also to explore new dimensions not covered in the project by UNIDO, but that can enrich growth with social development, UNIDO and SDC has organised a 2-day Workshop on “Cluster Development and Social Issues: Preliminary Findings and Way Forward”. The workshop was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on the 10th and 11th May, 2006.
The minutes and some of the key presentations made during the workshop can be downloaded from http://www.smeclusters.org/workshop.htm