This was the first time MBDA worked in partnership with UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) Small Business Unit (SBU) to host a ‘Meet the Technologist/Innovation Day’.
The event was opened by Stephen Phipson, Head of UKTI DSO, and took place on Tuesday 30 June.
MBDA, one of the UK’s leading defence contractors, offered high hopes of contract work to the elite UK Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) invited to attend.
Over 7,000 UK SMEs we invited to this event. The MBDA requirements were so strict that only 63 companies passed the initial selection, and only 33 UK SMEs were invited to attend.
Working with larger established companies (primes) gives SMEs a potentially lucrative outlet for their goods and services, and allows them to be part of large export orders.
It also benefits the primes, as it promotes innovation, and increases size and versatility of supply chains. All of which helps primes meet their contract obligations.
Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, emphasised the importance of innovation to the MoD’s procurement plan and the key role played by UK SMEs in this process.
He reassured the audience that the defence procurement budget was in good shape and would provide plenty of opportunities for UK SMEs to win business.
One-to-one technical sessions
Each SME had at least one 25 minute private appointment with an MBDA technologist.
As each SME was hand-selected to attend by MBDA there is every indication that a high percentage will be able to secure supply chain or other contract work with the company.
Informal feedback on the day suggested that SMEs were highly delighted and very optimistic about the way these discussions had developed.
There were a range of stalls to keep SMEs occupied while waiting for their appointments.
MBDA brought a number of marketing stalls:
- MCM ITP, a UK MoD and French DGA sponsored research fund
- MBDA involvement in international co-operation and offset work
- MBDA Future Concept Vision and Innovation Gateway strategies
The event also had representatives from:
- Innovate UK
MoD Centre for Defence Enterprise
UKTI DSO Small Business Unit
UKTI DSO Military Export Support Team
There is high expectation that a good number of SMEs will secure business with MBDA.
UKTI DSO SBU and MBDA will be holding a follow-up meeting in the next few weeks, to assess the value of the event and ensure continued support to the SMEs.