The Cape Timber & Furniture Cluster (CTFC) is a fresh approach to business collaboration. It has adopted the European Union (EU) cluster guidelines used by over 3000 clusters. This Cape-based cluster focuses on the whole value chain.
According to the European Cluster Observatory data, economic activities in clusters account for about 39% of European jobs and 55% of European wages. Regions with dynamic clusters and the companies rooted in them do better in profitability and growth.
The CTFC’s online launch on 13 July was attended by furniture manufacturers, academics from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Furntech, Wesgro (Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape) and WoodBiz Africa. The cluster is open to architects, decorators, manufacturers, timber suppliers, and service providers across the furniture value chain.
The personality behind the cluster is entrepreneur, furniture manufacturer and business consultant John Noble. He is passionate about the wood products value chain and encouraging businesses to cooperate.
“The objective of the cluster is for all businesses in the greater Cape region – big, small and start-ups – to have access to a regional, inward, and outward-focused platform. The inward focus is on local collaborations, skills development, productivity improvements, logistics, and supplies,” says Noble.
“There are incredible outward opportunities to spur design, manufacturing innovations, new market opportunities in Europe and Africa, and develop north-south business partnerships.”
The CTFC is a platform for a geographic group of interconnected businesses and their service providers to work together to solve common problems and grow through collaboration and scale. “Strong clusters shape a region’s economic future and attract investors and people with skills,” explains Noble.
“It’s about good communication, networks, working to strengths and solving problems together. It promotes healthy and productivity-enhancing competition as well as co-operation.”
The CTFC aims to achieve this by facilitating:
- International and local business opportunities and events
- Business development
- Funding for stock, assetts and development projects
- Logistics and access to companies within the national supply chain
- Skills development