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Helping small firms in the defence supply chain

Boosting small businesses and helping them to grow is crucial to the continuing health of the British economy.

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Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne [Picture: Crown copyright]

Defence Minister Philip Dunne

Business Secretary Vince Cable recently set out a number of measures that will provide support to ambitious small businesses and entrepreneurs.

They include the first funding from the British Business Bank’s investment programme, a new £1 million sector-specific mentoring scheme, and a £10 million start-up fund to help entrepreneurial scientists.

In support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the defence sector, Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, chaired a forum earlier this week at the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE).

The Centre already sees some excellent collaborative work with innovative SMEs.

The CDE forum provided an opportunity for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to have direct communication with SMEs to help inform them about new MOD and government policy, as well as hear first-hand any issues that SMEs wished to raise from their experience of doing business with MOD.

Mr Dunne said:

CDE shows how MOD works closely with companies, including SMEs, to provide innovative equipment and support for our Armed Forces.

CDE also plays a crucial role in ensuring SMEs have direct access to MOD contracts. We saw first-hand the results of CDE’s work and the valuable impact this can have.

Philip Dunne and the small and medium-sized enterprises second-in-command
Philip Dunne (right) hears views from the small and medium-sized enterprises second-in-command [Picture: Crown copyright]

CDE works with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, often providing an entry point into MOD for those new to defence. CDE aims to remove barriers to SMEs entering the defence supply chain.

So far it has received more than 4,700 research proposals, with around 750 selected for funding, resulting in a total contract value of £44 million. Almost half of all CDE contracts go to SMEs.

Yesterday also saw the launch of the ‘Business is GREAT Britain’ campaign, which marks the start of a wave of activity to build and improve on the way government supports small businesses.

There are 4.9 million small businesses in the UK, and providing them with the tools they need to thrive is an important task for the government to ensure the recovery of the economy.

More widely across government, a new business support website,, has also been launched, bringing together all the support from across government into one place, making it easy to access services and products.

In December a cross-government strategy on small business support will be published.

Published 7 November 2013
Last updated 8 November 2013 + show all updates
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