More than thirty-five SMEs from the UK’s Defence and Security industries attended an event in Edinburgh to develop and enhance their understanding of how to grow their businesses both domestically and internationally. 

Part of a nationwide tour, the event in Scotland was the second in the series of briefings, after an overwhelmingly positive response to the first event in London in November last year. 

Organised by ADS and the Department for International Trade Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO) Small Business Unit, the briefings give Defence and Security companies first-hand advice on the latest developments in the sectors; how to exploit the various support mechanisms in place for SMEs; and specific information on how they can develop their businesses in the UK and overseas. 

At the event in Edinburgh, Defence and Security companies from Scotland and the North of England were given guidance on the process of doing business with the UK Ministry of Defence and the various opportunities within the Security and Resilience sector. The briefings offer tips to SMEs tendering for the first time, as well as the exporting support mechanisms offered by DIT DSO.

Hosted by Leonardo, a major employer and contractor with sites in Scotland and across the UK, senior representatives from the company also briefed SMEs on how they work with SMEs to support the UK Defence supply chain, and invited them to express an interest in collaborating with Leonardo on a future Rotary Wing Unmanned Air System (UAS).

Paul Everitt, CEO of ADS Group said “Equipping SMEs with the knowledge to better understand the complex international and domestic Defence and Security industries is hugely important to the growth of these sectors, to sustain and develop the UK’s leading global position. 

“There are many sources of support for SMEs, including from ADS and DIT DSO, and the demand for this event demonstrates the drive and commitment of companies in the Defence and Security industries in Scotland and the North of England to capitalise on these advantageous opportunities to become more successful”. 

The event also featured advice from Giles Huby, Managing Director of Scotland-based SME Copernicus Technology. Copernicus Technology has direct experience of government support in developing and growing, after receiving funding and export support from one of Scotland’s regional development agencies, Highlands & Islands Enterprise. 

Giles Huby said: “It was great to have the opportunity to transfer some of Copernicus Technology’s experience to colleagues in the industries. For SMEs it is often hard to get a bigger foothold in the defence aerospace sector and large companies who are typically the customers in this sector can be slow to take up innovations created by SMEs. This type of support is crucial to enabling SMEs to grow.”