Small and Medium Enterprise in NATO context

NATO Allies increasingly recognise the value of and engage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as vital suppliers of required defence capabilities. 

A recent series of NATO decisions—ranging from the 2013 Framework for NATO Industry Engagement to the 2014 Wales Summit Declaration and the 2016 Warsaw Summit Communique—recognize the importance of maximizing the potential of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to deliver cost-effective capabilities in C4ISR, IT, and cyber security.

Furthermore, the NATO Industry Cyber Partnership (NICP) endorsed by the Alliance leaders at Wales accentuates the need to promote the involvement of SMEs which can often provide innovative solutions in the cyberspace. 

While Small and Medium Enterprises are often the birthplace of innovation, competing for attention and contract awards in the NATO environment may be daunting for small businesses.

This portal aims to provide information on the NCI Agency's Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) initiative and updates on activities and events that support engagement of SME in the Agency-wide projects.

Targeted activities

Defence Innovation Challenge

The annual NCI Agency Defence Innovation Challenge aims at bringing forward innovative thinking and technology solutions from small businesses and academia from all 28 NATO Nations in focus areas of critical importance to the Alliance mission.

Meet the top ten finishers Defence Innovation Challenge 2017:

SME Mentoring

Small Business Mentoring programme offers a possibility for small business to network with leading prime companies while holding one-one-one sessions covering a range of topics, including product development, marketing, seed financing, best practices, and successful collaboration with partner companies and NATO.

A second Small Business Mentoring Programme was held during NITEC17, in Ottawa, Canada 24-26 April 2017. Representatives from Leidos, AT&T, GDIT and Leonardo were available to share their knowledge and discuss issues pertinent to small businesses operating in C4ISR, IT, and cyber security areas.


NCI Agency Small and Medium Enterprises Engagement Strategy

The NCI Agency engages with industry to provide NATO-wide IT Services and to develop, deliver, connect and protect C4ISR capabilities, including cost competitive provision and maintenance of NATO common-funded capabilities for national purposes.

To best harness the potential of Small and Medium Enterprises and facilitate their participation in the NCI Agency business opportunities - bearing in mind the need to ensuring a fair chance for Small and Medium Enterprises to participate in the NCI Agency business opportunities, neither preferential treatment, nor discriminatory hurdles - the Agency has launched a three-fold strategy aiming at:

    • Making the NCI Agency acquisition as accessible as possible to Small and Medium Enterprises and its processes more transparent, simpler, and faster
    • Improving the NCI Agency's interface with SME through more direct engagement with Small and Medium Enterprises
    • Ensuring that NCI Agency acquisition strategies maximise the potential for Small and Medium Enterprises participation at subcontract level and encouraging prime contractors to make maximum use of Small and Medium Enterprises in their subcontract work.

To get in volved please contact the Industry Relations Office at