Published 27 March 2024

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We opened our doors for our first Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Open Day at Abbey Wood on Wednesday 20 March, and we are delighted to see the positive impact it has already made for hundreds of attendees.

Our procurement teams, together with the trade associations Make UK Defence, ADS Group and Team Defence Information, came together to invite SMEs on-site and online to learn about upcoming Defence projects, how to make the most of opportunities and get ‘tender ready’, as well as how to engage with Defence supply chains and answer any questions attendees had.

Andy Start, DE&S CEO, who led a panel question and answer session during the event, said:

“Our SME Open Day provided a brilliant opportunity to allow SMEs into the heart of MOD acquisition and to meet buyers directly. Our trade associations do a brilliant job for us, helping us bridge the relationship between Government and smaller companies.

“Running the SME event at Abbey Wood, where our teams could easily spend time with those small companies is really efficient for both us and for them, and it has been a real success.

“This event was a pilot, and we are learning as we go through the process, but based on the feedback and reactions, we are confident that this is a good thing to do and our plan is to aim to run these on a more regular basis.”

Thanks to our successful speed-dating style ‘Meet the Buyer’ session, SMEs had the chance to speak to DE&S colleagues and exchanged details so more in-depth follow-up conversations can start.

Andrew Kinninburgh, MAKE UK Defence Director General, added:

“The Defence supply chain is a complex environment and there are so many layers and tiers to it, so this opportunity to open the doors, particularly at Defence, Equipment and Support, and to welcome SMEs in the door and hear from senior leaders is very important and I very much welcome it.”

Thank you to all those who made this event a success. Look out for further information on our upcoming SME Open Days coming soon.