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.
Professor May has over 45 years' experience in transport planning and traffic engineering. He has been a professor at Leeds since 1977, and has served as Director of the Institute for Transport Studies, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research. Between 1985 and 2001 he maintained a link between research and teaching at Leeds and practical experience in consultancy with MVA Ltd for which he was Director of Transport Policy.
Prior to 1977 he spent ten years with the Greater London Council, where he was responsible for policy on highways, traffic management and transport-related land use planning for the capital. He managed major studies on traffic restraint, parking policy and motorway traffic control during his time there.
Anthony was elected to a fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1995, and awarded the OBE for services to transport engineering in 2004. He retired in 2009 but is still active in research, consultancy and professional development. He served as President of the World Conference on Transport Research Society between 2007 and 2013. He has until recently been Editor in Chief of the European Transport Research Review and Secretary General of the World Conference on Transport Research Society.
John is currently Chair of the Water Informatics Science & Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training (WISE CDT) advisory board where he provides guidance on strategic development, direction and future sustainability.
He joined Severn Trent Water on its foundation in 1974 and held a number of senior roles until his retirement at the end of December 2004. He has served as a director of Severn Trent plc; Severn Trent Water Ltd; and was a non-executive director of the North American subsidiary together with a number of other non-executive positions; Board member of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland; Chairman of the West Midlands Innovation and Technology Council; Chairman of the Development Forum for the Infrastructure Conditions of Contract; Chairman of the Civil Engineering Standard Method of Management Panel. He also works as an independent consultant.
He is a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers and is currently their Treasurer.
John is a Chartered Civil Engineer and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1997. He was made a Fellow of the City & Guilds of London Institute in 2000 and awarded an OBE for services to Engineering and The Water Industry in December 2004.
Christopher is Professor of Biotechnology and Director of the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
His main research interests cover areas of healthcare biotechnology including biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics and sensors, ageing and medical microbiology. The work is highly multi-disciplinary, encompassing biochemistry, microbiology, chemistry, electrochemistry, physics, electronics, medicine and chemical engineering, but also covering the entire range from pure science to strategic applied science, much of which has significant commercial applications.
He has carried out research in the area of biosensors, biopharmaceuticals, and enzyme, protein and microbial technology.
Professor Lowe has been the driving force for the establishment of 11 spin-out companies with a current market capitalisation of well over $1.5 billion, and has been awarded numerous national and international prizes and distinctions. His research has been recognised by over 20 major national and international awards. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2005) and is also a Fellow at Trinity College.
"I vowed to take matters into my own hands and exploit technologies developed in my own laboratories myself. I have unique experience of this approach in the UK and hence my title, the Most Entrepreneurial Scientist of the UK.”
Professor Jon Cooper holds the Wolfson Chair of Bioengineering (Biomedical Engineering) and is responsible for Glasgow University’s Knowledge Exchange strategy. He manages the university’s relationships with its strategic partners in industry, the NHS, government and charities.
Jon is responsible for the university’s enterprise activities which includes the promotion of spinout companies. He has been involved as an academic founder of three spin-out companies in the fields of medical diagnostics, drug delivery and new medicines discovery: Modedx; SAWdx and Clyde Biosciences.
His research group is currently looking at using phononic structures to shape how sound interacts with fluids. Applications are in varying stages of development and include ‘silent’ underwater motors; new diagnostics for infectious diseases; sample processing for next generation gene sequencing tools and targeted drug delivery.
Jon was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2001) and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2004). He holds an ERC advanced investigator award, a Royal Society Merit award and is an EPSRC Fellow.
"Focus above all else on excellence – whether this be in publications, knowledge exchange & innovation, teaching or supervision. Try to do one thing really well."
Nick is Professor of Regenerative Medicine Manufacture at Loughborough University and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine.
Nick has experience in regenerative medicine development building on a career in industry as a chemist and chemical engineer. Regenerative medicine is the application of living cells and tissues to resolve disease or injury. It has the potential to revolutionise healthcare. It has been named by the government as one of the priority technologies for UK competitiveness. The market has a global value estimated to be worth $20 billion by 2025.
Nick is a Chartered Chemist and a Chartered Chemical Engineer, and he has spent a significant amount of his career working within Smith & Nephew. Nick also has experience in quality assurance, process design, regulatory affairs and economic analysis.
His specialties include: project cost projections and cost control, advice to grant funding bodies, set up and management of cleanroom facilities and pilot plant, application of healthcare regulations to new medical product development, project planning and control, the construction of efficient Quality Management Systems for medical research programmes.
He was made Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
David Ball’s career has involved roles as a CEO for six businesses, chairing three publicly quoted companies, and positions as executive director on the boards of over 65 companies across the world.
David’s key experience lies in creating business success in established businesses which have failed and in start ups, with particular expertise in strategic business development, effective and efficient operational management of both large and small businesses, and managing major business transforming R&D. He has also served on the boards of numerous UK trusts, trade associations and public arts and industry bodies.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 1998.
"It’s rewarding to work with enthusiastic and dedicated young people who have great ideas and inherent capability but lack experience of business. Knowing I’ve had an influential role as an integral part of the team in bringing about subsequent commercial and personal successes is so satisfying for a mentor.”
Bill was previously Chief Scientist and Head of Research of ICL/FUJITSU and Chairman of the ECRC (European Computer Research Centre) in Munich.
Bill was an advisor to two International Governments on Science and Technology Strategies. He has also had many advisory roles to the European Commission on Science and Technology initiatives especially around biocomputing.
He is currently interested in the security of embedded controllers in scientific and engineering systems and he is an advisor to several tech startups. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1998.
Ian is known worldwide as an authority on microdisplay technology, systems and applications. He describes himself as an "academic, innovator and entrepreneur."
Today he is employed by the University of Edinburgh as its Head of the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS) and also acts as an independent consultant with pre-spin-out technology projects and early stage technology companies. He was a force in the pre-spin-out stage of Sofant; is Chairman of PureVLC; advisor to Holoxica and has mentored the management at Optoscribe.
Ian is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Society for Information Display and sits on the technical program committee of the International Solid State Circuits Conference, the International Displays Research Conference and the Society for Information Display's Annual International Symposium.
His specialities include: electronic information displays, photonic and optoelectronic devices, components and systems.
Recent personal recognition includes Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Scotland (2003); Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2004); Gannochy Medal for Innovation winner (2004); Fellow of the Institute of Physics (2008); Appointed to the Scottish Science Advisory Council (2008) and elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2008.
If you want to know what will be on our roads in 5, 10 or 50 years time, Neville is the man companies and governments alike go to.
Neville has been the Chief Technology & Innovation Officer for Ricardo plc since 2009 when he joined the company fresh out of Imperial College in 1982. He is responsible for developing the future global vision of automotive and energy technology at Ricardo and for the strategy and future direction of research and development. He is also Chair of the Advisory Group at Advanced Propulsion Centre UK.
Throughout his time with Ricardo he has been strongly associated with innovation and technology development including the design, management and execution of the company's significant and sector-leading internally funded research. In this work he has been highly influential in chairing the Ricardo Technology Steering Group and has led many initiatives to forge technology and innovation research collaborations with government, academia and industrial partners.
He is Director of CENEX, the UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon Vehicles and Fuel Cells; Chair, Advisory Group at Advanced Propulsion Centre UK; Deputy Chair of the UK Automotive Council Technology Group; Member of the UK Energy Research Partnership; Board member and past chairman of the UK Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership; Member of the UK RAC Foundation Public Policy Committee; Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton; Founder board member of the European Automotive Research Partners Association and Vice Chairman from 2002 to 2008; elected Vice Chairman of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC); Member of the advisory board for the European Green Vehicle Initiative and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2011.