Abstract Research on Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) clusters highlights the key role of governance in compensating for their lack of resources, especially in terms of coordination. However, modes and actors of governance are not specified. If the approach in terms of "territorial", or "local", governance partly fills this void, it remains insufficient to specify the role of public institutions involved. In the particular case of French cluster policy, it is possible to observe a profound change of public intervention modes. Our goal is to enrich the analysis of public action in territorial governance by explicitly integrating the type of public institutions according to their level of intervention (local, regional, national) and the nature of their involvement. The originality of our analytical framework is based on the introduction of these two dimensions, which makes it possible to render operational the notion of "territorial governance" and its various modes (private, public, mixed).