Bluewater Wood Alliance is a wood manufacturing cluster.
A cluster organization is of a group of companies and associated institutions, in a common industry and geographical area, linked by the same interests, needs and challenges. In southwestern Ontario the seeds of the cluster have been in existence for decades.
The idea is to bring like-minded companies together for the purpose of joint projects in skills development, technology transfer, export development and experience exchanges in a bottom-up driven association.
The advanced wood manufacturing sector in southwestern Ontario alone accounts for approximately 1,400 SME companies representing 22,500 employees with $5.2 billion in revenues out of the total $6.6 billion for all of Ontario. As a consumer and further processor of Canadian wood bio-mass products, this sector is extremely important to the economy of Canada for job and wealth creation in our communities. Exports from this sector in this region also touch $3.5 billion (Conference Board of Canada, 2016).
The advanced wood products manufacturing industry includes: home, office and institutional furniture; solid wood flooring; veneer production; kitchen and bath cabinets; millwork. The BWA cluster aims to bring as many of these companies into the cluster as would like to join, as well as interested companies from the surrounding regions.
Benefits of working as a cluster include:
- Access to specialized training, services and workers.
- Participate in collaborative projects.
- Sharing of information and expertise.
- Information sharing facilitates faster innovation.
- Innovation fostered within a cluster increases competitiveness in local, national and
How does this cluster work?
The Bluewater Wood Alliance is a not-for-profit corporation that coordinates and facilitates the needs of the cluster. Governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the members, decisions on direction and projects come from the bottom up, as this is truly a “member-driven” organization.
The Alliance is supported and funded by a combination of membership fees plus government partners on project basis. We serve as an intermediary, working with government to articulate the cluster’s objectives and create partnerships that provide funding on a project basis.