October 18, 2022

October 20, 2023

AWS Defence Accelerator Programme

Partnering with AWS to design and execute a defence-focused startup & SME accelerator aimed at supporting the development of dual-use solutions for the UK Ministry of Defence

Open Innovation Programmes


PUBLIC partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to establish a defence accelerator aimed at attracting and accelerating dual-use SMEs and startups that can provide transformational technologies and capabilities to the UK Ministry of Defence.  Defence requires a dynamic, innovative supply chain to maintain the UK's military and strategic advantage and increasingly, breakthrough innovations and emerging technologies that can transform Defence are being developed by startups and SMEs. These organisations often operate outside the traditional boundaries of Defence and have limited understanding of how to deliver value and partner with the MoD.


We managed every aspect of delivery, from challenge definition, to competition design and cohort selection, to acceleration, including a final Demo Day event. We led market and customer research efforts to inform the definition of four challenge statements that were marketed to 800+ innovative providers such as startups and SMEs. As a result of our marketing and outreach, the programme attracted  108 applications from non-traditional suppliers and generated high levels of engagement from the global startup community. PUBLIC then conducted thorough due diligence to come up with a final list of 10 high quality startups selected providing solutions in data, cyber, space and sustainability sectors.. During programme delivery, we ran intensive business and commercialisation training and convened a diverse mix of senior public sector stakeholders - including senior actors from MOD, leading SMEs and established primes.


This accelerator initiative significantly contributed to driving innovation and collaboration in the defence industry, aligning with the UK Ministry of Defence’s goals for technological advancements and product development. Within seven months  since the programme inception, multiple startups successfully secured funding, and several won new business opportunities within the defence sector.


Photo by the author

Chiara Carlini

Deputy Director of Startup & Challenge Programmes

Photo by the author

Matthew Long

Former Team Member

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