My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Bob Ainsworth) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The MoD is establishing a pilot Centre for Defence Enterprise to facilitate enterprise in the defence sector, continuing the pursuit of a broader supplier base for advanced technology to deliver a battle-winning edge to the UK Armed Forces, as set out in the Defence Industrial Strategy, Defence Technology Strategy and MoD Innovation Strategy.
The Centre for Defence Enterprise will bring together innovators and investors with an interest in potential defence technology. This will be a further incentive for individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises and academia to engage with the MoD and the established defence industry. It is also the opportunity for the UK investment community to enter the major business of supplying the UK Armed Forces.
The initial pilot will be focussed on a physical centre at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus to allow for interested parties to come and understand the needs of the department and align their ideas and energy to make a real difference to the frontline. The internet will be utilised to ensure that the whole of the UK can join this endeavour and further open defence to all UK innovators.
The initial pilot will test the level of engagement and needs of the innovators and investors to develop the business model for greatest effectiveness. Most products of this initiative are anticipated to take several years to mature, although some could deliver to the frontline much quicker if suitable.