The Estonian Defence and Security Industry Cluster was relaunched last year with the aim of enhancing cooperation between Estonian companies working in the country's defence and security sector.
At the moment it has 11 members and is one of four such groups participating in a European Commission-backed programme to develop sustainable long-term partnerships.
The programme enables SMEs to participate on a global level, opening the prospect of increased exports and sales.
The cluster hopes to increase the export volume of Estonia’s defence and security industry tenfold by 2029.
In an interview with Business Planet, its manager Helen Naarits outlined some of the advantages of the programme.
Business Planet: What are the big advantages for companies inside 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.”
Business Planet: How do you help companies inside the cluster 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.”
Business Planet: What kind of EU support have you received and how does this filter through to your 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.”
Business Planet: If I’m an entrepreneur or small firm elsewhere in Europe, can I connect with you?
“Sure you can, just contact us, as we have many contacts in Estonia and in Europe.”