You are here : Home > News

Interview with Gábor Lemák, manager of the MMCluster in Budapest

Friday 07 October 2011

To find out further on the lessons learnt since the CLUSNET seminar took place, we inteviewed Gábor Lemák, manager of the MMCluster in Budapest.

What does the cluster in Budapest do? And how do they do it?

Despite a wealth of creative ideas and healthy research activity, innovation and output cannot be guaranteed by ploughing in further R&D investment. Local authorities, companies and universities recognise the need to ‘build bridges’ with industry and academics from around the world.

Taking the lead from other mobility and multimedia clusters across the world, Budapest’s Mobility and Multimedia Cluster (MMCluster) attempts to bridge the gap between university and industry by initiating joint development projects, creating networking platforms and promoting exchange of ideas. The cluster organisation operates as a neutral mediator between the different parties.

MMCluster was established in December 2007 as part of the Hungarian Pole programme. Today the cluster brings together around 70 firms, mainly SMEs, from within the mobility and multimedia field in the Budapest region. It also incorporates seven academic institutes including the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and the entire cluster employs over 1200 people in total.

The cluster provides support to SMEs in the form of innovation management and business planning, allowing them to make the transition from research-based organisations to commercial firms active in international markets. It is also instrumental in setting up joint R&D and innovation projects. Currently, there are around 30 projects active with a total budget of €30 million. The main technological focus of the cluster is around mobile technologies, multimedia content provision, applications for intelligent and safe traffic and ICT solutions for supporting daily activities.

Do you have contact with other clusters outside Budapest and Europe?

MMCluster puts great emphasis on building relationships with other clusters outside Budapest and Hungary. In particular, the cluster cooperates closely with other Hungarian clusters within the ICT sector and ICT-related fields such as healthcare, logistics and the car industry. So much so that at the end of last year MMCluster created the Forum of Accredited Innovation Clusters to promote close cooperation with other Hungarian ICT clusters and support start-up companies to compete in the international business arena.

What is your relationship with the city authorities?

Since cluster development policy in Hungary is centralised, the city authorities do not play an important role within the cluster development programme. Instead, the government created a separate agency to build a strong connection between clusters and the national government and to simplify the flow of information.

What has happened since the CLUSNET seminar took place?

MMCluster is now the largest and most successful cluster in Hungary. It was selected as part of the Europe Excellence Clusters and in May 2011 co-organised a national innovation contest and ‘tech show’ as part of the Hungarian presidency, where 21 novetly Hungarian high-tech applications were presented to delegates from the EU.

Have the seminar findings led to changes in the cluster?

The seminar highlighted the need for more emphasis on self-sutainability and a need to expand the scale of business services. In response, MMCluster has introduced new services such as business planning for SMEs and preparation for venture capital investment. This year MMCluster will also introduce a new incubation and export programme.

Budapest logo