Foto: Annika Haas

Samelin is Defence Industry Company of the Year 2017

The Defence Industry Company of the Year 2017 was announced today at the annual Estonian Defence and Security Industry Forum. This year’s title was awarded to AS Samelin, a manufacturer specializing in military, work, and safety footwear.The head of the Estonian Defence and Security Innovation Cluster, Ingvar Pärnamäe, said the Defence Industry Company of the Year competition committee was unanimous in its decision to award the annual title to AS Samelin, a Tartu-based company founded 27 years ago, whose product is one of the most crucial pieces of a soldier’s equipment – the boot.

“It may sound simple, but Samelin has implemented a significant leap in quality for footwear manufacturing, and the materials technology used by the Estonian footwear supplier has made it a valuable partner for the Estonian Defence Forces and the Police and Border Guard Board, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, and the defence and security organisations of several European countries,” explained Pärnamäe, adding that Samelin has cooperation ties with the SATRA technology centre in England and is testing its products with the German Technical Inspection Agency, as Estonia lacks the required competence.

According to Pärnamäe, Samelin is an example to the whole sector, as it exports 69% of its output and has supply contracts in place for the next four years. “Samelin has been successful in using the Estonia-Sweden joint procurement framework, which required persistence from the company but has now returned a considerable yield. Equally significant is the fact that the company overcame economic difficulties a few years ago and just in 2017 increased its turnover by 40% compared to the same period last year,” noted Pärnamäe.

The Defence Industry Company of the Year 2017 title was presented to AS Samelin by Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Gen. Riho Terras, and Chairman of the Board of Estonian Defence Industry Association, Taavi Veskimägi.

 Taavi Veskimägi said Samelin was a great example of a defence industry company that succeeded in combining the actual needs of the Defence Forces with innovative product development, which has also brought success in export markets.

“Samelin’s ability to respond to the needs of various buyers in Estonia and on the international level proves that the company’s bold steps for product development are paying off in terms of both the company’s economic success and improving the sector’s export capabilities,” Veskimägi acknowledged.

Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras noted that quality boots for soldiers are rated among the Defence Forces’ key equipment, considering that the most valuable asset is the people. “The importance of cooperation between the Defence Forces, the defence industry and R&D centres is increasingly important – this cooperation allows for value to be created jointly for the Defence Forces personnel, businesses and Estonia as a whole,” Terras stressed.

AS Samelin representative Urmas Kaddarpik said the company was delighted to have its 27 years of work recognized specifically this year, after the company overcame economic difficulties and became the main partner for the Estonian Defence Forces while also winning major contracts in Norway and Sweden, ensuring the necessary export volume for the coming years.

“Samelin’s team develops 10-15 new boot designs each year – our product portfolio includes more than 40 different military boot designs based on different materials and concepts, suitable for various climate conditions and meeting the needs of specific units. We have footwear that is water- and dustproof, with fire and explosion protection and suitable for use in different temperatures, often developed outside the comfort zone and after thorough mapping of the customer’s needs,” Kaddarpik noted, adding that the company’s product development is notably based on cooperation with the Estonian Defence Forces and the Police and Border Guard Board, which have been major users and sources of feedback for the products.

The Defence Industry Company of the Year competition aims to acknowledge companies in the defence and security sector who have created and commercialized a product or service that is innovative, creates high added value, is competitive on international markets and has high export potential. The ‘Defence Industry Company of the Year’ title has been awarded since 2013. Previous winners include Baltic Workboats (2013), Cybernetica (2014), Defendec (2015) and ELI (2016). The competition is 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, Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Estonia Alo Ivask, member of the Defence Committee of the Riigikogu and former Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Merike Saks, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras, and Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Defence Industry Association Taavi Veskimägi.

 

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 combines Estonian companies providing defence and security industry products and services with a main focus on internationalization and joint marketing. The activities of the cluster are supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Foto: Annika Haas