Why Economic Clusters Are Important for Acadiana

According to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), “Regional Clusters are geographic concentrations of firms, workers and industries that do business with each other and have common needs for talent, technology, and infrastructure. Regional clusters are essentially networks of similar, synergistic, or complementary entities that are engaged in or with a particular industry sector; have active channels for business transactions and communication; share specialized infrastructure, labor markets, and services; and leverage the region’s unique competitive strengths to stimulate innovation and create jobs. Regional clusters may cross municipal, county, and other jurisdictional boundaries.”

“Research over the last decade has shown that regional clusters are a prominent feature of successful and growing economies: They drive competitiveness and entrepreneurship and underlie new business growth,” according to the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project - a partnership between the EDA and Harvard. APC in partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is spearheading this approach in Acadiana bringing all our partners together to set the state for cluster development and growth of the bio-pharmaceutical sector.

From a planning perspective, clusters are a tool the Acadiana Planning Commission (APC) can use for policy creation and strategic planning.  With the right policies and plans in place, our partners can use economic cluster development to recruit companies that operate in the bio-pharmaceutical space. This same approach can be applied to other potential clusters.  By focusing on industry clusters, we can generate higher-paying jobs and spur economic growth in Acadiana.

As a region, Acadiana has all of the ingredients necessary to support growth in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing sector. Organizations looking to onshore their R&D and manufacturing should grow here to leverage the region’s transportation network, access to petrochemicals, agriculture, a skilled workforce, and pro-business legislation.

“The Acadiana Planning Commission is focused on deliverables - on results. We know that the biopharmaceutical cluster can grow here and went out to secure grants to help make that possible,” said Monique Boulet, APC Executive Director.