We aim to foster a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and success among engineers in the UK, creating economic growth and societal impact. At the heart of how we do this are the Hub Members, the promising entrepreneurs who we support through our programmes, and our Hub Mentors, the business leaders who volunteer their expertise and time to help the Hub Members succeed.
From manufacturing to medtech, our Hub Membership is made up of some of the UK’s most innovative entrepreneurs. But don’t just take our word for it: read more about our Hub Members to see how they are, without exaggeration, changing the world.
While completing a master’s, Jenny Griffiths realised that visual search tools are rapidly changing the way we discover new things and interact with the world around us. As a result, Jenny established Snap Tech, a company offering novel visual search-based solutions for the fashion industry.
Snap Tech is changing the way people shop by fusing visual search with fashion. The technology can turn phones (or other devices) into smart cameras, allowing users to point at an item of clothing in a magazine or shop, and instantly learn more or discover alternatives.
The company aims to take image search further by personalising the shopping experience. Its tools use a blend of mathematical heuristics (problem-solving techniques) and deep learning algorithms to understand users’ preferences, such as those relating to colour, shape, budget and availability, making it easier for consumers to find what they want.
Retailers and publishers are using Snap Tech solutions to increase conversion rates, significantly improve engagement, and generate additional revenue.
The company aims to build strategic partnerships as it expands globally. As CEO, Jenny views her growth as a leader, supported by the SME Leaders Programme, as playing a key role in continuing to develop solutions for fashion, while exploring the potential impact of the technology in other industries.
The construction industry sends millions of tonnes of waste to landfill each year, at significant cost to the industry and the environment. And new legislation requires that by 2025 at least 70% of all waste must be recycled.
These two factors are driving the construction industry to find alternative building methods and materials that reduce waste.
With help from the Innovation Fund of Zero-Waste Scotland, Sam founded the clean tech spin-out company Kenoteq to address this need.
Kenoteq has developed a patent-pending process using traditional earth-construction methods to make unfired bricks that do not use cement which have 90% of their content recycled from building and construction waste. Its unique production process and materials are classified as recyclable by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
As the new brick does not use gas firing, large manufacturers can eliminate the cost of gas-fired production and avoid additional carbon taxes under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The bricks offer a high thermal mass and are ‘breathable bricks’, reducing the need for air conditioning and air quality controls inside buildings by providing relative humidity buffering.
The array of switches, buttons, wheels and controls that help us to interact with electronics all rely on bulky and complex networks of sensors that can cost a lot to create.
TG0 has developed a new technology for making interactive 3D controls that are ergonomic, intuitive and engaging. Its solutions replace complicated networks of electronic sensors with one uniform, flexible, touch-sensitive material.
Driven by artificial intelligence algorithms and advanced signal processing, TG0’s platform technology can accurately detect variations in touch across a single flexible surface. This allows its material to easily sense pressure, location, speed, direction and movement allowing users to engage in more intuitive ways.
As Co-Founder, Ming leads research and development for the technology’s hardware. TG0’s seamless, interactive surfaces can be used in a range of applications including tactile gaming controls, car dashboard controls and ergonomic computer peripherals such as keyboards, amongst many others.
TG0 is also exploring how its technology can be used to make interactive products that are more accessible for the visually impaired.
Since its launch in 2016, TG0 has worked with high profile brands and manufacturers in the consumer and automotive sector and built a patent portfolio with more than ten international patent entries to date. A rapidly growing team is helping the company to expand and target a range of industries including sensor-embedded industrial robots, wearables, gadgets and underwater electronics.
"Getting to grips with a whole new mechanism for sensing and control doesn’t come naturally when you’ve spent your life learning to use another system."
Wearable technologies are making a massive impact on society, beginning to blur the boundary between human and machine. It is also an exploding commercial market set to be worth $12.6 billion by 2018.
The next generation of lightweight, high performance machines will rely on technologies that are capable of bringing the user as close to a device as possible.
Peiman has created the first reported nano-display device that uses both optical and electronic property modulation in Phase Change Materials. Peiman’s company, Bodle Technologies, spun out of Oxford University in November 2015, to further advance this technology.
An entirely new class of ultra-thin, ultra-high resolution displays with nanosecond access speed and no power consumption in static mode is now under development by his team.
This revolutionary display will initially target the rapidly growing microdisplay market compact, projection based displays used in emerging near-eye applications like Google Glass. The first prototypes are currently under development, with a small working device set to be ready within the next 12 months.
mOm’s cost-effective, lightweight incubators could help to improve the survival rates of premature babies.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 15 million premature births each year, and up to one million preventable neonatal deaths each year. Ensuring that babies are kept warm can help to prevent neonatal fatalities. mOm’s incubators are compact, robust and cost-effective so can be used in environments where conventional incubators are not available.
The incubators have been designed in close collaboration with clinical specialists including neonatologists, midwives and nurses to ensure that they are user-friendly and meet clinical quality standards. The resulting incubator provides a level of thermoregulation that meets the standards set for conventional incubators at a fraction of the cost.
James Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder, was inspired when he saw the issue highlighted in a documentary. He led the strategic development of the product and created the award-winning company behind it, with a vision of mOm increasing access to healthcare through affordable technology. The incubator is about to begin clinical trials.
James won the 2015 Launchpad Competition, and in 2019 was awarded a place on the SME Leaders programme.
Supported by the programme, James aims to strengthen his communication skills for effective leadership at all levels as the company moves towards rapid commercial growth and product realisation.
Current joint replacement systems use a standardised one-size-fits-all approach, despite the fact that bone shape and size can vary enormously.
Susannah had the idea to create fully-customised parts for surgery. She is a co-founder of Imperial College London spin-out Embody Orthopaedic that now make unique instruments designed specifically for a one person’s surgical intervention.
Embody are pioneering low-cost instrumentation for orthopaedic surgery with a new type of 3D printed technology to revolutionise joint replacements. This approach decreases risk by creating instrumentation such as knee replacements that are unique to each patient. The minimally invasive devices are printed in nylon, a low-cost, robust material that can be readily sterilised.
instruments are now used in both everyday surgery and more
specialised cases, such as soldiers with lower
limb gunshot wounds. Using 3D printing technology enables a very
complex operation to be planned and undertaken in a much
reduced timeframe, allowing an entirely personalised surgical
approach at an affordable cost.
is expanding on 3D printing customisable implants. Furthering plans to
deliver a fully tailored joint replacement process, from surgical
planning to recovery, the company is also launching a web-based
surgical planning system. This allows surgeons to upload patient
scans and trial different surgical scenarios pre-operatively. Within
the next ten years, Susannah plans to apply the technology in other
fields such as maxillofacial, cardiovascular and dental surgery.
“The Enterprise Hub has given me access to opportunities that have played a big role in my progress, particularly being able to take time out from my research to focus on the project, and receiving business training. The events organised by The Enterprise Hub have also enabled me to meet some very experienced people in the industry who gave me their views on my project from a completely different perspective, which was invaluable.”
Advances in passive (battery-free) radio-frequency identification (RFID) are creating opportunities for highly accurate tracking in a range of industries. Patented technologies developed by University of Cambridge spin-out PervasID harness the potential of passive RFID to allow real-time monitoring over wide areas, using a fixed infrastructure.
CEO and Co-Founder Sithamparanathan Sabesan has led PervasID in developing a complete RFID Inventory, Portal and Checkout, end-to-end solution that uses networks of antennas to detect and track items with passive RFID tags across wide areas. This can be achieved to a high level of precision (99%+), enabling cost-effective, continuous monitoring for companies in sectors such as retail, healthcare and security.
For example, in retail, PervasID’s systems support inventory management and improve customer experiences through real-time tracking of goods from the warehouse to store checkout and exit. Similarly, PervasID systems support efficient management of resources in healthcare. In security they help to keep high-value assets safe, deterring theft with systems for accurate, long-range tracking.
Sabesan has been a Hub Member since 2011, when he joined as an Enterprise Fellow. He aims to use support from the SME Leaders Programme to build skills in leading and growing a team dedicated to developing and marketing PervasID’s solutions. Training and mentoring will also provide guidance on establishing the right partnerships to broaden the technology’s use in industry.
Oxford Space Systems' innovative structures, such as its novel large deployable antennas (LDAs), use both conventional and new materials. The LDAs offer significant savings in the build and launch costs of satellites and are lighter, less complex and can be stowed more efficiently than those currently in commercial demand. The development of a flight-worthy LDA is currently viewed as "strategically important" by the European Space Agency.
Although still in its early design stages, Oxford Space Systems is generating significant interest from satellite builders and operators globally and has gained investment from venture capital firms and various private investors.
Oxford Space Systems has the ambitious vision of establishing its position as the centre of excellence, making the UK the go-to supplier for large deployable antenna technology.
Shefali is one of the ten winners of our 2016 SME Leaders Programme.
Robots can be a useful educational resource to engage young people in science and engineering but they can be high in costs which prevents broader accessibility.
Founder of Robotical Ltd, Alexander, has created an affordable, working robot that can walk, dance, or even be programmed to play football. Targeted at young people from 10 to 18+, the robot is a fun, educational tool for both makers and educators.
Known as Marty, the 3D printable robot has a novel design. Unlike most two-legged robots, it uses fewer motors to control each of the robot’s legs, reducing production and retail costs significantly.
Designed with fun and engaging features, Marty can be used at home or in the classroom as a hands-on educational tool to help children build skills in coding and computational thinking.
Marty launched for sale online at Robotical in January 2018 and is now available worldwide. The company also creates and sells resources such as activities and lesson guides to promote digital skills and learning in STEM.
Sandy was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support the development of his affordable robot and to build his startup, Robotical.
What makes us different is the Academy’s Fellows and our wider Mentor network – an unrivalled community of the UK’s most successful industry leaders, technology experts and entrepreneurs. Find out more about our Mentors and their areas of expertise.
Richard Brook is an experienced angel investor with technology expertise in the field of measurement, instrumentation and control systems. He has over forty years of experience in developing new instrumentation and applications for use in various sectors including manufacturing, space and defence.
He is Co-founder of the investment company E-synergy which has invested in over a hundred companies to date. Richard is also a Director of NPL Management Ltd (the UK’s National Physical Laboratory), and past Chairman of a number of Advisory Boards and Committees for policy development and funding activities in the UK’s Space and academic research sectors.
Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1998), He was appointed OBE in 2004 for services to Higher Education and the UK Space Industry.
“During my time at E-Synergy, I have invested a significant amount of time in mentoring entrepreneurs and preparing companies for investment. The mentoring support I’m providing at the Academy is a natural extension of this, and I’m looking forward to helping some fascinating projects to reach their full market potential.”
Professor Alison Noble is the Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering, in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, and Associate Head of MPLS Division. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society (2017), the Royal Academy of Engineering (2008) and the President of the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) Society, the international society in biomedical image analysis.
Alison’s research interests are in computer analysis of clinical and biological images and the development and translation into clinical practice of novel methodologies that provide new diagnostic and therapeutic image based biomarkers and software tools for image-based quantification and decision-making. Her research group works in close collaboration with clinicians and industry players. She is also a Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of a university spin-out company that is commercialising research from her laboratory (Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd).
She returned to Oxford as a University Lecturer in 1995 to set up a biomedical image analysis group. Biomedical image analysis has since grown to be the largest biomedical engineering activity in Oxford.
Alison has played a leading role in setting up the biomedical engineering undergraduate and postgraduate biomedical engineering teaching and training (MSc and CDT) programmes at Oxford over the last decade. She is a member of both the Oxford University’s Research and Education Committees (from Oct 2013), and has served or currently serves on a number of committees of the Royal Academy of Engineering and other national organisations as well as numerous research funding agency panels.
John recently stepped down as Chairman of Metaswitch Networks, a leading provider of communications software. He joined the company in 1987 as a software engineer and became Chief Executive Officer, and then Chairman as the company established its leadership in cloud communications software. John graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar with an M.Sc in Computation and a D.Phil in History.
He serves on the board of several organisations including What3Words; KindLink; Techfortrade; Technology Trust and Starfish Greathearts Foundation.
John is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2011) and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. He was awarded a CBE for services to engineering in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2016.
Eric is Professor of Micro-Engineering at Imperial College London. He is the Co-founder and Non-executive Director of Microsaic Systems plc, which develops and markets miniature mass spectrometers. During Eric’s period as Chairman of Microsaic Systems, the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
He has overseen more than 20 research projects which have raised a combined £14million in research funds. Eric has also been a technical advisory board member to two venture capital funds.
Eric was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal in 2011 for his research into micro-engineered devices and their commercial exploitation. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
“(My mentee) James’ work has excellent potential, both technically and commercially. There is a clear market need for such a system to improve safety in the nuclear industry, and I look forward to helping him to succeed in getting it to market through the Enterprise Hub programme.”
Chris has a first class degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University where he is now an honorary fellow at Churchill college. He co-founded leading network technology provider Metaswitch Networks and spent many years as the company's Chief Technology Officer.
He is now an active early stage investor, sits on the board of several UK technology start ups and is a Venture Partner at Entrepreneur First. Being blind himself, he is a patron or trustee of three different charities in the sight loss sector. He is also a trustee of The Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Chris was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2014 by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace for his services to engineering. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006.
Norman has researched a wide variety of microwave and optical devices during his career. He has published some 70 scientific papers and patents while at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (now Qinetiq Malvern).
He is currently the Chief Executive of Catalyst Inc. (formerly Northern Ireland Science Park). It is a peer-driven network providing support for entrepreneurs and innovators, and a project he guided from initial concept to realisation.
Norman chairs the Advisory Board of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and CatTechnology (ECIT) at The Queen’s University of Belfast and is also a visiting Professor at the University of Ulster. He is Deputy Chairman of Matrix, the Northern Ireland Science Industry strategy group, and chairs the steering board of the NI Composite Centre. He has been Vice President (Business and Innovation) of the Institute of Physics and Honorary President of the Association for Science Education in Northern Ireland.
In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is an Enterprise Committee member and steering group chair for the Enterprise Hub. He has mentored many engineers at the Hub on projects that helped store renewable energy; conserve the black rhino in South Africa, and to extend the life of our ageing national grid infrastructure. Norman leads the Academy’s ‘Engineering SMEs Leaders’ programme, which awards training support and short-term mentoring for engineering SMEs. In 2012, Norman was awarded an OBE for his contributions to science and economic development.
"(Engineering) entrepreneurs are typically rich with ideas, energy and enthusiasm but cash poor. They cannot afford the quality help they need to find the right business model for their idea, discovery or invention. Pro Bono support from Fellows from their experience and from their “black books” helps speed the process and leads to increased innovation.”
David Hawkes is currently the Director of the Centre for Medical Image Computing at UCL. He was previously Director of the EPSRC and MRC-funded Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration on Medical Images and Signals (MIAS-IRC) that was an £8million six year programme. David also served as Chairman of the Division of Imaging Sciences at KCL (2002-2004).
He spent 10 years working as a clinical scientist within the NHS before returning to academia. He is co-Founder of IXICO Ltd. (www.ixico.com), a university spin-out that provides imaging solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.
David's current research interests encompass image matching, data fusion, visualisation, shape representation, surface geometry and modelling tissue deformation. He continues to work promoting medical imaging as an accurate measurement tool and the use of image-guided interventions.
Professor Hawkes was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2003.
Daniel McCaughan is a versatile industrial executive who has held senior management and Board level positions in the electronics, telecommunications and defence industries since the early 1970s. As well as managing McCaughan Associates, he is an Emeritus Partner and technical adviser to the leading Irish venture capital fund Kernel Capital Partners. He also sat on the main board of DHSSPS, the Northern Ireland Health Service, co-chaired with the Permanent Secretary the UK Home Office Science Advisory Committee, and chaired UK Foresight in IT, Comms and Media .
Daniel has a wide and invaluable range of experience in technology-based businesses thanks to his long career at high executive level in large and small companies, government departments and universities. This background provides him with unique skills as he has dealt with a wide variety of customers and led major technical projects from component to system level. This gives Daniel exemplary insight to the evaluation of technical product plans and projects, company business planning and development, preparation of companies for investment, and Venture Capital.
Dr McCaughan has been awarded over 20 patents and has published over 100 book chapters and papers in both technical and managerial subjects. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992.
Chairman of The Abbeyfield Research Foundation and Hull Minster Development Trust.
Trustee at Livability, Royal Academy of Engineering, Methodist Independent Schools Trust, Royal College of Surgeons.
Director of Eva Diagnostics.
Former Chairman/Chief Executive of Smith & Nephew plc.
Former Chair The Abbeyfield Society, Chairman Railtrack plc, George Wimpey plc, Low and Bonar plc, UK Coal plc, Voyage Ltd and a number of companies in the care sector.
Past President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
Past President of the Chartered Institute of Management.
Past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University of Hull Governing Council
Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, Chair of The Engineers Trust.