The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is encouraging small and big businesses to team up to develop innovative ideas for the defence and security of the UK.
A Marketplace event has been hosted in London by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), part of the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
Opening the event, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:
CDE funds research into novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit innovations. This Marketplace event aims to get those industry and academic partners who’ve received funding to offer up their ideas and technology to possible investors interested in the defence and security supply chain to help bring them to market.
More than 20 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) backed by CDE had the opportunity to pitch their ideas and early stage products at the Marketplace event to some of the world’s biggest defence companies and investors. Ideas ranged from ways to combat the cyber insider threat to casualty care on the battlefield.
View case studies from the Marketplace exhibitors.
Among those exhibiting was Inova Design Solutions Ltd from Guildford, demonstrating medical monitoring technology to support injured troops on the frontline. Inova’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Leon Marsh, says they’ve already received support from private investor group, SETsquared, and now hope to take the technology to the next stage:
The funding and support from 2 CDE contracts has helped us to prove the technical feasibility of our proprietary technology, and establish confirmation of its need by the defence community. This, in turn, is enabling us to raise additional funds and begin commercialising the technology.
Simon Bond, SETsquared Innovation Director, says:
I was pleased to attend and support the Marketplace event. We specialise in growing high-tech start-ups through our incubation programme and other business acceleration services, so it was great to see so many innovative small companies here today. I’m keen to see more successful CDE-funded companies, like Inova, take advantage of the mentoring and access to investors and industry experts that SETsquared can offer.
View Simon’s slides on the SETsquared partnership.
Also attending the event was Keith Hodgkinson, Deputy Director of Innovation Policy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He says:
The government has taken steps to improve business support for SMEs to help drive economic growth. It was great to hear first-hand from some innovative SMEs here today who are seeing their businesses grow.
View Keith’s slides on government support for SMEs.
This is the second Marketplace event held by CDE. The first was held on 3 December 2012 as a pilot, at which one of the exhibitors – Flight Applications Ltd, a micro SME based in Surrey – was introduced to MBDA Systems, a multi-national world leader in missiles and missile systems. Flight Applications was then invited to take part in a joint project on cruise missile mission planning.
Graham Wallis, Chief Technologist MBDA Missile Systems said:
When faced with a wide range of potential suppliers to work with, the Centre for Defence Enterprise Marketplace provided an assurance of quality which helped MBDA to identify Flight Applications Ltd as being a suitable participant for the project.
Since CDE was established in 2008 it has received almost 5500 research proposals and funded over 900 of these to a value of £55 million. Around 70% of CDE-funded contracts have gone to SMEs and innovators in academia.