Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC) hosted a Dragons Den-style investment event for businesses in the sector.

The National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) gives funds to companies to help them bring products to market. Its Project Review Panel was assembled at FAC’s HQ to hear pitches from small and medium-sized businesses. The scheme is funded by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) via the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

A £685m investment in aerospace announced recently by BEIS means more grants will be available. The latest round saw NATEP’s panel hear presentations from half a dozen companies.

Encouraging investment and innovation

Alan Fisher, chief executive officer of FAC, said: “For our country to stay ahead in aerospace we need to encourage investment and innovation, and that’s what NATEP does. For a number of years along with ADS – the national trade body – we have been recommending projects to NATEP, which convenes regular panels to judge the merits of companies’ products.”

“Over the years there have been some remarkable success stories, from development of aircraft landing gear connector harnesses to ways of distributing electricity in aeroplanes.

“A consistent stream of technological advancements makes this easier and turns the eyes of the big players towards the smaller firms. This in turn keeps our sector moving forward and helps us retain our place as world-leaders in aerospace.”

Strengthening and delivering sustainable aerospace

Harriet Wollerton, programme director for NATEP, said: “NATEP is an ATI programme that is focused on supporting SMEs from initial concept, through to project close and beyond. We look forward to supporting more businesses to develop aerospace technology projects in the UK to strengthen the UK aerospace supply chain and deliver sustainable aerospace.”

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