It’s easy for me to sum up the past two years of our association: What a magnificent ride!
Who would have thought we would become one of the best clusters in Serbia so quickly. We have managed to achieve so much: won a prize at the European Cluster Conference, attracted substantial donations to support our activities, established our own Cluster Academy and ran numerous trainings both for members and non-members, established our own Project Office to run national and international projects, built a network of working contacts in Serbia and abroad, increased membership base by 50%, stepped up lobbying activities together with other clusters and partners, and the list goes on.
From the very start we’ve set our sights high, keeping our vision in focus and always including others in what we do – members, partners, donors, companies, government bodies, education institutions – you name it. In doing so, we have created an institutional background for all the successes our IT companies were already achieving in the global market. Adding to that institutional support, we have established two conferences – DanubeIT, as an international event whose main characteristics are contemporary topics and mandatory B2B part, plus SoftBiz, a national event dedicated to Serbian IT market. On top of it all, the only comprehensive document about this sector in Serbia is ICT in Serbia – At a Glance, the publication which we publish annually.
We have never insisted on a massive base in terms of number of members, but preferred to include those who felt they belong with us and saw themselves helping achieve our common goals. Which is precisely our guiding principle in working together: once you bring an idea to the table, you share ownership for that idea as well as responsibility for carrying it out. Our cluster is a joint platform which members can use as a tool and/or support in implementing their ideas, achieving goals which would otherwise be unreachable to them as individual organizations. It also functions as a single communication channel for our partners – in education system, government, donors and organizations similar to us.
Of course, it was not a smooth glide over the clouds all along. We hit bumps, had ups and downs, and learned along the way. The principles we laid out in the beginning, strategy and clear vision of where we want to go, helped us stay the course. But most importantly, the people who make this cluster, its members, and all those who we’ve met and worked with, helped us to be where we are today – alive, kicking, and still climbing!