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DASA Fast-Tracks 245 Innovations With £42m Boost to Business in Record Year

Accelerator reviews more than three ideas a day from innovators and placed 55 per cent of contracts with start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) fast-tracked 245 innovative technologies and novel solutions while investing £42.8 million in start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, industry, and academia over the past 12 months.

DASA assessed more than three proposals a day (1,172) from innovators during 2019/2020 with 55 per cent of all contracts awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to its third annual review published today.

The review shows that DASA helped give business and investment coaching to 15 companies that pitched for private sector investment of more than £40 million.

The document also identifies key lessons learnt from the year and what next steps DASA will take.

These include:

  • Taking more risks

  • Spotting and stopping ideas that are not working quickly

  • Expanding our business mentoring team and services to help tech start-ups and SMEs attract new funding, commercialise their ideas and companies, while building economic growth and prosperity across the country

DASA will also place greater focus on helping innovative ideas make a difference for the armed forces and national security world by working closer with those who ultimately will benefit from and use the new technology being developed.

The annual review highlights several case studies of projects funded through DASA that are already achieving impact, including in autonomous systems, swarm drones, and data.

Head of DASA Anita Friend said:

The threats faced by the United Kingdom and our allies continue to be complex and are intensifying and evolving at a relentless pace.
Events over the last 12 months highlight the essential need for novel and innovative approaches if we are to maintain advantage over those who wish to cause harm to our country and our people.
But it is perhaps the effects of the coronavirus pandemic at home that have brought sharp national focus on the critical need for innovation as we respond, recover and rebuild from this crisis to ensure the UK remains a safe and prosperous place to live.
DASA is at the forefront of this vital effort: fast-tracking technology from a diverse range of sources outside of Government to unlock new and enhanced capabilities while investing in brilliant and inventive small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy.
That is why I am so proud of everything our team has achieved.

Andy Caldwell, who has taken up the role of interim Head of DASA for the next 12 months, said:

DASA has achieved so much in its first three years and I am really excited to join and lead this innovative organisation for the next 12 months.
DASA has a crucial role to play in the future of our defence and national security and has already got off to a flyer for the coming year, making major contributions to the national effort against coronavirus and launching a major international collaboration with our United States allies for space innovation.

DASA is part of the Ministry of Defence and finds and funds innovations for the armed forces and national security.

You can view the annual review by clicking here. It is best viewed using the Google Chrome browser.

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