Defence Secretary commits to working with small and medium-sized businesses

gavin williamson boosts SME investment


In December 2017, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled his three-pronged strategy that will refresh defence’s Industrial Policy.

During his speech at the UK Defence Solutions Centre in Farnborough, Mr Williamson said that the defence sector is “industry’s biggest customer” and that the Government is “committed to exporters and small and medium-sized businesses to ensure they and our military remain the envy of the world”.

New year, new strategy

Although the MOD is making great progress with previous objectives, Gavin Williamson has revealed that plans have been enhanced. The Defence Secretary, who took the position in autumn last year, has three main focuses:


  • The first focus is to improve how defence delivers wider economic and international value, as well as national security objectives. The Government plans to introduce a pilot, which will try an innovative approach to delivering these benefits.


  • Secondly, the MOD wants to continue to build international relationships after many valuable agreements. Last year the Defence Secretary had success in Qatar signing a £6bn export deal for 24 Typhoon aircraft.


  • Lastly, the defence sector will stand by SMEs, opening up the market and making it easier for companies to do business with defence.


SMEs reach government spend

The purpose of this refresh is to adjust the industry conditions so that the market can be “internationally competitive, innovative and secure”. This will allow more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to do business with defence.

Defence contracts promote SME interests, helping many businesses to grow and expand their employee numbers. In total, £18.7bn was spent with British companies in 2017, which supported over 121,000 jobs in the UK.

As mentioned, the Government is already succeeding in opening up the defence sector to small businesses: the MOD has increased spend with SMEs by 10% in 2017 compared with 2016, and the department aspires to place 25% of direct and indirect defence procurement with SMEs by 2020, rising from 18.1% in 2015/16.


Gavin Williamson appointed new Defence Secretary – MOD-DCO

Prime Minister Theresa May has named Gavin Williamson as the new Defence Secretary following Sir Michael Fallon’s resignation. Mr Williamson is the MP for South Staffordshire, having served the constituency since the 2010 election. Prime Minister Theresa May appointed him Chief Whip following her victory in the Conservative leadership election.

It is estimated that over 700 SMEs throughout the UK supported the build of the latest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

These opportunities are promoted both via the MOD DCO portal and the @defenceproc Twitter account. Both platforms provide a range of useful information for new and prospective suppliers.


Find International Defence Contracts

After recognising the vital role that UK businesses play within defence procurement, the Defence Secretary hinted that the defence sector will continue to expand. He said that:

“As Britan faces intensifying threats, it is crucial that our brave Armed Forces personnel have the warships, jets and missiles they need to defend the country”.

This means that now is an excellent time to sign up to Defence Contracts Online as our platform is designed to connect public sector suppliers and buyers.

If you are already a MOD DCO customer and are looking for international defence contracts, you can find out more about DCI (Defence Contracts International).


Doing business with the MOD

There are many benefits to doing business with the MOD. The shift to online portals has meant that many businesses are discovering contracts relevant to their business that they would never previously have had the chance of accessing.

The Government procures everything from military fighting vehicles to education services, which means there are opportunities for almost all types of businesses in the UK.

If you would like to learn more about doing business with the MOD, you can attend industry days that help to connect defence buyers and suppliers. Networking may also open potential for sub-contracting opportunities.

Would you like to register as a supplier? Find out how DCO can help your business.