The Defence Industry Company of the Year is Eli

The Defence Industry Company of the Year 2016 was announced today at the annual Estonian Defence and Security Industry Forum. The title was awarded to the drone and simulator developer Eli OÜ, a long-time contributor to the defence capabilities of Estonia and to high-potential future technologies valued all over the globe.

The head of the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster, Ingvar Pärnamäe, explained that three candidates for the title were submitted in 2016: the drone and simulator developer Eli, the supercapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies and the drone builder Threod Systems.

“The committee of the competition for the Defence Industry Company of the Year reached a unanimous decision that the title ‘Defence Industry Company of the Year 2016’ should go to Eli OÜ, which has been developing and manufacturing defence and military equipment for a long time, contributing to high-potential future technologies and cooperating with the Estonian Defence Forces, as well as with over 30 countries all over the world. Eli OÜ has succeeded in realizing their long-term development projects into products that are exported all over the globe today. Export accounts for 90% of the total production of the firm,” Pärnamäe said, highlighting the reasoning behind this year’s committee decision to award the Defence Industry Company of the Year 2016 title to Eli.

The title ‘Defence Industry Company of the Year 2016’ was presented to Eli OÜ at the annual Estonian Defence and Security Industry Forum by Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna, who said that Estonia needs a defence industry able to contribute to our defence capacity as well as our economy. “It is of utmost importance for the state to be a partner and a supporter here, an opener of doors to export markets, an encouragement, not a hindrance. That’s exactly why it is our aim to contribute to the development of actual defence capabilities, so that our defence capacities are not just words on papers but have real resources and a will to defend ourselves behind them,” Tsahkna said.

Eli OÜ is a developer and manufacturer of military technology. The company is a leading developer of defence and security sector simulators and training systems in the Baltics. Eli’s production includes, for example. pop-up and moving targets, unmanned aerial vehicle kits, launch catapults, recoil simulators and multirotor drone kits. The company also produces radio-controlled aiming systems for infantry and for antitank weapons.

According to the Managing Director of Eli OÜ Tõnu Vaher, the company has developed an abiding motivation to contribute to the defence industry because of their wish to be close to their state on an everyday basis. “At Eli, we all want to contribute to the stability and development of Estonia through creating new defence solutions.”

The title ‘Defence Industry Company of the Year’ is awarded in order to acknowledge a company in the defence and security sector that has created and commercialized a product or a service that is innovative, creates high added value, can compete on international markets and shows high potential for export. The title ‘Defence Industry Company of the Year’ has been awarded since 2013. Previously, the title has been awarded to Baltic Workboats (2013), Cybernetica (2014) and Defendec (2015). The competition was organized by the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster.

The committee for this year’s competition included the Rector of Tallinn University of Technology Jaak Aaviksoo, former Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso, Brigadier General of the Estonian Defence League Meelis Kiili, entrepreneur Jüri Käo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Jürgen Ligi, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Merike Saks, Member of the Board of the Estonian Defense Industry Association Taavi Veskimägi and former Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Estonia Hanno Tomberg.

The Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster is a cross-sector network aiming to develop the export capacity of Estonian defence and security industry companies. The cluster is comprised of Estonian companies providing defence and security industry products and services with a main focus on internationalization and joint marketing. Activities of the cluster are supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

A photo gallery of the reception held by the Defence Industry Company of the Year 2016 can be downloaded here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b9zzxp74i1jpd36/AAAo7DyNBoH9m6pAw0OI-5xWa?dl=0