In 2019, the Estonian Defense and Security Industry Cluster was re-launched in order to boost the cooperation between public-private companies in the country’s defense and security sector.
Following the launch, the program has registered 11 members. It is one of four such groups participating in a European Commission-backed programme to develop sustainable long-term partnerships.
The program provides an opportunity for SMEs to participate on a global level, and open up the market for enhanced sales and exports.
The cluster is aiming to boost the export volume of Estonia’s defense and security industry tenfold by 2029.
In a conversation, its manager Helen Naarits highlighted the advantages of the program:
What are the main advantages for SMEs to participate in your cluster?
“There are two main advantages. One is joint sales, with EU financial support, and the other is working groups where companies can come together to brainstorm for better product integration. The latest working group we have is focused on Artificial Intelligence.”
How does the platform help them scale-up and succeed?
“We help our companies to grow by creating opportunities for them to attend matchmaking events, networking events, B2B meetings. We also provide seminars and training for them. In addition, we help them to export and to attend international exhibitions.”
What kind of support do you get from the EU, and how does it filter down to the individual companies?
“We have received funding from the EU Regional Development Fund, which has helped our companies to export to international markets, to attend exhibitions and to arrange training. We are also part of the EU’s Cluster Go International programme, which is also helping our SMEs to grow.”
Can small European firms and entrepreneurs connect with the cluster?
“Sure you can, just contact us, as we have many contacts in Estonia and in Europe.”