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Accessing Innovative SMEs High on Ministry of Defence Customers’ Agenda

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Three Counties Defence & Security Expo 2019 
16-17th July 2019
Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcester
Stand number 91

SMEs have always played a crucial role in the defence supply chain. But, it is somewhat refreshing that Jim Carter, Commercial Director, Supply Chain at the MOD, recently declared that access to an innovative SME supply chain is high on Ministry of Defence customers’ agenda.

It is timely that we are exhibiting at Three Counties Defence & Security Expo (3CDSE) 2019 in July – an event that has the primary aim to introduce SMEs to procurement decision-makers and influencers in the MOD and law enforcement agencies and to foster commercial discussion between SMEs and primes.


With an annual procurement spend of more than £20 billion, the MOD is the largest procurement organisation in central government, managing some of the most complex and technologically advanced requirements in the world.

This budget covers a wide range of niche products and services – including many requirements that are successfully provided by start-up or SMEs, such as technology, equipment, support and infrastructure.

For businesses that haven’t considered diversifying into defence – now is the perfect time to consider your options and 3CDSE provides the perfect opportunity to explore these.


The theme of 3CDSE is innovation, with a focus on cyber security, hardware and vehicles, UAVs and counter-UAVs, technology and communications.

Locally, the Three Counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire comprise the hub of the UK’s defence and security industry – the ‘golden triangle’ – with the MOD based in Herefordshire, Qinetiq and the Malvern Cyber Cluster in Worcestershire and GCHQ in Gloucestershire, plus all the satellite industries which have grown up around them.

Several sources record that 90% of the UK’s defence and security innovation has its home in this triangle, and, at 3CDSE, there is a focus on business development.

3CDSE 2019 will be engaging both UK and foreign intelligence, including the further Five Eyes of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and European intelligence agencies, as well as Government and law enforcement agencies.


We are finding that the SMEs taking advantage of the opportunities in defence are experiencing skills shortage difficulties, particularly within advanced machining and manufacturing skills, electronics, software and systems engineering as well as advanced design techniques including CAD, FEA, simulation, VR and AR.

Promoting the benefits of working with a technical, defence specialist recruiter will be the main focus for us at the Three Counties Defence & Security Expo. Jonathan Lee Recruitment has specialised in engineering and manufacturing recruitment for 41 years. Our team consists of specialist recruiters alongside trade professionals including service leavers from the RAF, REME and the British Army.


I would encourage businesses to explore the potential of diversifying into the defence sector if they haven’t already – there is so much opportunity. Exhibitions such as 3CDSE also enable businesses to get closer to decision-makers.

If the defence sector looks like a desirable venture, I would also encourage businesses to become familiar with the MOD contracts portal, which advertises tender and contracts opportunities valued over £10K. You can gain access to the official source of MOD contracts by registering for free with Defence Contracts Online.


Register here.


Contact me to book an appointment: via email or call me on01384 446149.

Find out more about our specialist defence recruitment team here.

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