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Secrets of doing business in Defence

In our latest webinar, we discuss how to do business with the MOD, how to tackle working with a Prime, and the first-hand experiences of an SME that’s succeeded in both. Defence Engage pulls together contacts from across the Defence ecosystem to explore the challenges SMEs face doing business in Defence, common pitfalls and top tips. 

Watch the webinar below.


Webinar highlights

This webinar features the burning questions which many new market entrants and SMEs have when operating in the Defence sector. Danielle Redwood, Director of Defence Engage, asks our speakers how to contact and build relationships with the MOD and Primes. The webinar also reveals some of the approaches used by Hadean, an SME who has seen success in building relationships with Primes and winning contracts.

Our speakers cover what the UK MOD is like as a customer, how BAE Systems, and specifically how their Digital Intelligence business unit operates, and their procurement processes. They also impart valuable advice for SMEs: how can an SME find out who to talk to in the MOD or a Prime; how can an SME maintain momentum in Defence, and what key behaviours and expectations should they adopt in order to succeed. 



The Hadean approach for success

Nick Brown, Hadean

As an SME "endless resources are not at your disposal, so what we've had to do is be very, very focused on what we want to target".

When figuring out who is best to reach out to [as a non-traditional defence supplier], Nick says "you have to combine good old fashioned homework with good old fashioned networking", "it is something that you have to commit time and energy and resource to". 

"Partnerships are a great accelerator of the relationships that you need to build either to develop opportunities through that partnership or to use that partnership as a springboard into direct discussions about other opportunities".

"Where you have a good news story to tell, tell it!"

BAE Systems' work with SMEs & how it supports them

Gary Moore, BAE Systems

"We've got ways of coaching them to the point where they will be comfortable for us to include them in our proposal and eventually hopefully to contract".

Keep in mind that, "the reason we work together is because increased capability helps us improve our offering and win business".

"Primes like BAE have ways of helping an SME to develop. There is mutual benefit and its mainly an investment in time".

When doing business in the Defence "patience and stamina are key".

Create "a focused proposal, very clear, sticking to the point". 





The MOD perspective: how SMEs can engage with Defence

Sir Chris Deverell, Founder of Deverell Innovation Ventures

"Always try and think hard about what the primes might not have. What could you offer that they couldn't already do themselves or are unlikely to be capable of doing themselves? If you've got that, then you've got something useful to the Primes".

"21% is the current achievement of the MOD in terms of spend with SMEs, either directly or indirectly ...but you can't assume, as an SME, that the existence of this target will be enough to guarantee business".

"If nine months from flash to bang seems very slow to you, that is actually fast in terms of Defence procurement".

"Frameworks are a very powerful way to engage with the MOD".

"Have a narrative that is compelling. Narrative can carry you over points in time where there isn't a requirement and there isn't the money".

"Where you have a good news story to tell, tell it!"

 Nick Brown, Hadean

"If nine months from flash to bang seems very slow to you, that is actually fast in terms of Defence procurement"

 Sir Chris Deverell, Deverell Innovation Ventures

"Be compliant and value for money"

Gary Moore, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence

Our speakers

Sir Chris Deverell

Founder, Deverell Innovation Ventures

Chris Deverell served as Commander of the UK's Joint Forces Command and member of the UK Chiefs of Staff Committee, the apex of a 40-year career which included operational, procurement, policy, planning, and international, appointments. Chris was also a pioneer of jHUB, UK Strategic Command's innovation team.


Gary Moore

Procurement Lead – Projects & Business Development, BAE Systems – Digital Intelligence

Gary's career has focused on Procurement, with a significant proportion of that being at BAE Systems.  Leading large teams across BAE Systems and now specifically the Digital Intelligence sector, Gary has a wider scope on the Procurement and Sub-Contract activities.


Nick Brown

Head of Defence, Hadean Supercomputing

Nick Brown is a former British Army Major who commanded infantry units on multiple operations, including Afghanistan. He is now the Head of Defence for Hadean. Hadean have worked with MOD, Thales and BAE, and provide technology that gives computational power to build large, complex and persistent applications.