The Development of Cooperative Relationships in NEU e.V.

Netzwerk Energie & Umwelt e.V. (NEU e.V.) is strongly rooted in the economic realities of Saxony, with its long-lasting industrial tradition and strong a R&D base. Innovations developed in the region are, to an increasing degree, the result of cross-sector cooperation. The operations of NEU e.V. are particularly reflective of the cluster strategy of Leipzig, which centers on chosen sectors of the economy, ones tied to energy and environmental technologies, logistics, the motor industry, the healthcare sector, and the creative sector. The first of the mentioned areas - energy and environmental technologies - is the domain of NEU e.V. itself. The main substantive areas that the operations of the CO focus on pertain to bioenergy, electromobility, energy efficiency, dealers and service providers, solar energy, water and sewage, education, qualifications, and the environment.

The energy and environment sector in Leipzig has a long tradition, and therefore a stable foundation with a large-growth potential. The local energy sector consists of over 100 companies, which face challenges tied to transformation in the areas of energy, environment, and transport. Leipzig is a center of energy industry and research, environmental protection, and sustainable growth. It houses R&D institutions of national significance, which specialize in the field of energy research and sustainable growth, hold pioneering research, and are either active members of NEU e.V. or participate in drafting the strategic goals of the development of the cluster. Leipzig is the most important European center on the energy market, with multiple innovative companies selling energy. It also houses the production of some car models (BMW, Porsche). Together with representatives of this sector, Leipzig implements a strategy of creating a model city with regard to electromobility.

Level I "Integration at the Unit Level"

At cooperation level I, NEU e.V. fulfills all three roles assigned to this level. In the roles of an “Informer” and an “Information exchange platform”, NEU e.V. develops diverse channels of communication. The NEU e.V. office fulfills the role of a central contact point. It communicates with the cluster members and external entities (answers questions, send out invitations to meetings and meeting protocols, etc.). NEU e.V. ensures direct contact with the board of the CO (via e-mail, phone, or in the form of face-to-face meetings). Should the need arise, it sends out a mailing to the cluster members, which covers selected topics and the work of particular teams functioning within the CO.

Beside direct forms of communication, it also develops other channels of communication, such as pamphlets, cluster brochures, and presentations. NEU e.V. maintains its own website, where it publishes essential information on the life of the CO, descriptions of its projects and services, as well as documents pertaining to membership. The website also includes a private section for its members (an internal download section, a job offers portal with access for members, a members-only information section, etc.). Information, tips, and actions performed in the cluster are regularly announced with the use of the online bulletin. Furthermore, NEU e.V. publishes press releases (about 20 per year) in regional and national press, television, and radio, which is also reflective of cooperation level III (and its role as an Information tube).

NEU e.V. is also active in its role as a “Social integrator” by working toward developing face-to-face contacts within the CO. In order to make and maintain personal contacts among the cluster members, it organizes regular meetings devoted to specific topics, such as The Energy Cluster meets Science [Energiecluster trifft Wissenschaft] or Fireside Evening [Kamingesprach]. Depending on their formula, the above meetings are held at least once per quarter, with some being held monthly. The meeting of the energy metropolis experts of Leipzig is also open to guests and speakers from outside the CO. Furthermore, there are joint meetings of the leaders, the board of the CO, and the supervisory board, which are held at least biannually. Participation in these meetings is facilitated by the fact that NEU e.V. members mostly come from the Leipzig region. Furthermore, NEU e.V. participates in regional and transregional fair events, which in turn facilitates integration among its members and provides an opportunity to enter into cooperation with external entities.

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