Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Manufacturing & Export Enhancement (MEE) Cluster?

MEE Cluster’s mandate is to help manufacturing companies in Western Canada adopt new technologies to grow and expand their domestic and international markets. Established in March 2022, MEE Cluster brings together companies, educational institutions, and different levels of government to collaborate and focus on developing solutions for the challenges our manufacturers face.

Who is behind the MEE Cluster?

It is administered by Access Prosperity. Funding is provided by the federal and provincial governments and through membership and service fees. Our office is located on campus at the Red Deer Polytechnic.

Who is Access Prosperity?

Access Prosperity is a not-for-profit Economic Development Agency based in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

How do you support manufacturers and the manufacturing industry?

We support manufacturers and the broader industry by enabling innovation, collaboration, and de-risking digital manufacturing technology adoption through our initiatives.

Who can participate in the MEE Cluster?

Our services are focused on supporting manufacturers based in Western Canada with less than 500 employees. As our primary goal is to increase collaboration and sharing of expertise and experiences, we also create a variety of opportunities for post-secondary institutions and other organizations to participate in cluster initiatives.  We also provide opportunities for digital technology solution providers to showcase their products to cluster members and the broader manufacturing community across Western Canada.

How does a business get involved with the MEE Cluster?

There are a variety of ways for businesses to participate.  Some of the cluster initiatives are member-exclusive, which means the business needs to join and pay a membership fee.  Other initiatives are open to participation by the broader industry and other organizations in order to foster collaboration. Please visit the services and events sections on our website to find out more about initiatives currently being offered.  You are also welcome to contact us directly for additional information.

What do you mean by “MEE is industry-led”?

We provide a variety of opportunities for the industry to offer input into cluster programming.  Our Steering Committee is composed of leaders working within the manufacturing industry.

How does the program support collaboration?

Many of our initiatives are designed to enable business-to-business networking and to connect manufacturers with available resources within the cluster. This includes post-secondary institutes, research organizations, and other industry-oriented programs. 

How does the program support innovation in manufacturing?

We support companies looking to innovate by helping to identify project partners and technologies that may help accelerate innovation. The cluster, in collaboration with its partners and engagement with the industry, is continuously looking to identify technology gaps and find commercially available products and services to fill those gaps.  If none exist, the cluster will support the development of new approaches to resolve the gap in capabilities. 

How does the cluster support digital technology adoption within the manufacturing industry?

The cluster has developed a variety of initiatives to raise manufacturers’ awareness of digital solutions. We help our members better understand the applications and benefits of digital technology within their business, demonstrate methods to de-risk implementation of digitization and automation, and connect manufacturers with solution providers.

Where does the MEE Cluster receive its funding from?

The cluster is primarily publicly funded with an ever-growing contribution from industry.

Why do you charge for participation and membership?

We charge fees to recover the costs incurred delivering our services.  Although through government support we are able to offer our services at a reduced cost, the funding does not cover all the associated costs of operating the cluster. 

What is meant by Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 “refers to the fourth industrial revolution, which connects machines, people, and physical assets into an integrated digital ecosystem that seamlessly generates, analyzes and communicates data, and sometimes takes action based on that data without the need for human intervention.” – PwC Insights

In practical terms, Industry 4.0 can refer to solutions such as Digital Work Instruction software, Manufacturing Execution System software, smart sensors, and a variety of other technologies that automate and enable efficient and effective gathering, processing, analyzing, and leveraging of the right data at the right time to create value for businesses.

What support do you offer related to export development?

The cluster is developing export development initiatives and will be able to offer support to manufacturers soon.  Please contact us for additional information.