During the military service, specialized knowledge and training is acquired. But in most cases, the military don’t have the opportunity to explore and capitalize all that expertise. With this vision in mind, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Minister of National Defense, launched last week the START-UP DEFESA program.

The goal of the program is to develop a cluster in the defense economy. This joint initiative of the Ministry of National Defense and the Portuguese Platform for Defense Industries (IdD – Plataforma das Indústrias de Defesa Nacionais) expects to generate 100 new companies and create 5000 jobs by 2020. For now, it started with 3 centers – Lisbon, Porto and Alfeite – but the goal is to reach 10 by 2020.

Quoting the Minister of National Defense, within this industry

there’s a whole world of opportunities that have never been sufficiently explored

and the program can serve as a

leverage for opportunities not only in Portugal but in the whole NATO community.

Minister of National Defence, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco

Minister of National Defence, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco | Source: Defesa Nacional

It is important to mention that the defense economy is not just weapons, ships and planes. There are several other areas that can be supported by the program. Some examples like uniform services, footwear, drones or water filtration (for military in places without drinking water) were mentioned by Eduardo Filipe, president of IDD Platform – the interface between the entrepreneurs and the defense.

Applications for START-UP DEFESA can be made through IdD. This platform will provide logistical support and access to the military network to accelerate the development and increase the technological and industrial potential.