As our sectors continue to evolve and adapt to an ever changing landscape, our sector teams and membership colleagues actively engage with micro, small and medium sized members to help them prosper. However, the recruitment of our new SME Success Manager, Adam Doyle, ensures that we increase our understanding of the unique priorities and challenges faced by our SME members and provide the relevent support for them. Find out more from Adam below.

How long have you been in post?

I’ve been at ADS for seven years: six years working within the Event Sales & Sponsorship team, and after a short sabbatical, 11 months in the Membership team as an SME Success Manager.

Have you enjoyed the change from sales to customer success?

Absolutely! Having worked for a couple of SMEs in a commercial capacity in previous roles; I’ve had a good education in terms of understanding the importance of business development and how nimble SMEs need to be within the supply chain.

What is your main focus for the role?

Our total membership currently stands at more than 1,300 businesses, and of these 90% are SMEs. My main priority is to champion our SME members, whilst signposting to the great work my ADS colleagues are doing to provide support.

What engagement are you looking forward to doing with SMEs over next few months?

Continuing to find ways to champion the fantastic work our SME members are carrying out!

One project the Membership team is looking forward to delivering for SMEs is a series of cross sector regional ADS member receptions. The locations and agendas have been led by member feedback, ensuring we are convening meaningful conversation between our industry sector supply chains, government and its agencies. Having delivered the inaugural ADS Engage South West Reception at Heywood House, we are now looking forward to ADS Engage West Yorkshire Reception, in Leeds, on 16 October. Events in Newcastle, Manchester and the Midlands will follow in 2025.

Make the most of your membership:
Contact Adam Doyle by email to discuss how we can help you.

A busy 2024 for SME engagement

Here are some of the ways the ADS team are engaging with SMEs

  • ADS Engage Regional Reception Series: Last week saw the inaugural ADS Engage South West Reception, at Heywood House. The networking reception consisted of cross sector briefings from Allica Bank on SME Access to Finance, Defence Digital update on Commercial X, DE&S on SME engagement, Home Office (JSaRC) SME engagement, a Farnborough International Airshow preview and an overview from the Supply Chain Solutions team – including Green House Gas Guidance for SMEs. The ADS Engage West Yorkshire Reception will take place at Nexus – University of Leeds, on Wednesday 16 October (event agenda to launch in the coming weeks).
  • Industrial Trends Survey: This week saw the return of the ADS Industry Trends Survey. The team are seeking just two minutes of our member’s time to help us understand industry confidence and the outlook for the rest of 2024. Member views are vital to helps us prioritise and communicate the issues facing our sectors.
  • Chief Economist joins SME panel session: On 6 June Aimie Stone, ADS Chief Economist joined defence-focused funders, founders, and lawyers to discuss Scaling and Preparing for Sale in Defence and National Security. A panel and networking session for SMEs that generated a rich discussion and fresh insights of value for those wishing to scale, shape and fund their businesses.
  • ADS ESG Defence Charter Discussions: As part of the commitment to ESG and the Defence charter, discussions have been underway with both large businesses and the SME community on how they are able to report on their ESG related activity. With the charter metrics under development, the SME voice on what is useful and what is reasonable to report has been an important part of the charter expansion process. Further details on how to be involved with the ADS Defence ESG charter will be communicated during the Farnborough Airshow.
  • SME Action Plan Review roundtable discussion with John Kite and Catherine Proudlove: now closed but participants will be representative of the Defence SME Committee and the Prime & SME Community Group
  • UKDSE/ADS Inaugural SME Surgery: Hosted virtually on the 29 June, with ADS sponsoring the event. Further regional briefing sessions will be available to attend throughout the remainder of the year. Sessions will be open to SMEs who are interested in the work that UKDSE does; with the prerequisite of being a member of the UKDSE Export Faculty.
  • Business Impact Series focussed on Artificial Intelligence: The first webinar will be on Monday 17 June, focussing on the business impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI). There’s still time to register here: Webinar Series: Business Impact Emerging Technologies – Artificial Intelligence. Sponsored by AWS – ADS Group
  • Farnborough International Airshow: Will have a dedicated space zone and the ADS Business Development Team will run a Business Connections programme for both space and aerospace. This will follow a Meet the Buyer/Investor format.
  • Apprentice Directory: Productive discussions in our recent Skills and Workforce Shortage Working Group highlighted a need among SMEs and mid-tier organisations for a platform to better promote their apprenticeship openings. Conversely, many of our larger members reported an over subscription of applications for their programmes. We are launching an Apprenticeship Directory so companies can benefit from visibility among a wider pool of potential candidates, enhancing recruitment efforts and helping to retain talent within our sectors.