Global defence training contracts for St Ives-based Innovation Award winner

WINNER of last year’s �Innovation Award, St Ives-based iTp Limited, has had another successful year, securing lucrative deals across the globe.

WINNER of last year’s �Innovation Award, St Ives-based iTp Limited, has had another successful year, securing lucrative deals across the globe.

Despite being a small, family-run business, iTp has proven to be a major player in the international defence training market, with regular contracts with Ministry of Defence.

In the past 12 months, iTp’s managing director Doug Simpson has travelled to Canada, India and Bangladesh, working with the nations’ navies.

Mr Simpson said: “We were very pleased to win the award. We actually applied thinking that nothing would come of it. Then we had a visit from the judges, which was nice, and we couldn’t get rid of them – which was even nicer!

“When we have visitors to the office, we always point out our award and we have put it on our website too so when we travel abroad, to places like Canada, we mention it and we get a great response.”

Contracts in recent months include training Libyan air traffic controllers and a “very lucrative” deal with the Indian Navy.

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Mr Simpson added: “We also sold a sonar system to the Bangladesh Navy, which is really the system that we won the award for.”

The recent recession and the Government’s decision to make big cuts in public spending means that Ministry of Defence work has been postponed.

Mr Simpson said: “Because of the financial situation in the UK there have been so many spending cutbacks and the Ministry of Defence work has been held back. We know it’s there though, it’s in the pipeline.”

Plans for the future include setting up an e-commerce website, which would allow customers of the testing and measurement side of the business to purchase equipment directly from the site, instead of being invoiced, which would streamline the business further.

The iTp office, on the Stephenson Road Industrial Estate, is currently being completely refurbished, inside and out.

Mr Simpson said: “We are moving forward and we are very positive about iTp’s future.”

The judges’ verdict on the tiny father-and-daughter company at last year’s awards was that it was a “two-person company, with a low research budget, but highly successful innovative products”.

Their products are used by navies throughout the world for sonar training and were adapted for the different demands for underwater studies in university laboratories.

The judges said: “iTp demonstrated a distinct expertise in its ability to identify problems encountered by potential customers and then to create solutions to overcome those problems.

Through this approach, iTp has developed a number of highly innovative sonar and radar-based teaching products, which has enabled it to achieve significant global success and recognition within the highly complex and specialised military and research sectors.”