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.
Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Swytch Technology
Swytch Technology’s eBike conversion kit can be used to turn a regular bicycle into an electric bicycle. The lightweight, durable, hand-held kit is easy to fit, quickly removable and works on any make of bicycle.
Converting existing bicycles into electric ones is more energy efficient than building an electric bike from scratch. This makes Swytch’s patent pending technology a more accessible way to get the benefits of electric transport without the costs. Its system provides up to 250 Watts of power and a single charge can last up to 50 kilometres.
With over 5,000 customers across 40 countries, Swytch is well placed for a share of the global eBike market which is growing at over 50% every year. Swytch is now preparing to launch its new eBike system that aims to deliver industry-leading performance in a cost-effective way.
Dmitro Khroma, CTO of Swytch, is responsible for all aspects of the product development lifecycle including conceptual design, supply-chain management and quality control. Leadership skills gained through the SME Leaders Programme will support him in developing skills for high level strategy and leading a multidisciplinary team to ensure Swytch’s sustained success. Dmitro Khroma also plans to use networking and mentoring through the scheme. This will gain him benefits from a broad range of perspectives on some of the challenges facing rapidly growing business.
Visit Swytch Technology's website here.
There are approximately 1 billion people living with a neglected
tropical disease worldwide. Two of the main infectious diseases, visceral
leishmaniasis and cryptococcal meningitis, account for 220,000 global deaths
annually – most of these fatalities are children.
These diseases can be treated with liposomal amphotericin B nanomedicine (which measures ~100 nm), a safer and more efficacious version of amphotericin B. However, due to the difficulties and costs associated with large scale production, there is a significant global supply shortage of this crucial nanomedicine – around 60 million vials are needed with an estimated value of more than $6 billion. The current multi-step, batch-based process requires the addition and removal of water and organic solvents, which is inefficient. It also limits the potential scale of its manufacture.
Dr Justin Tian is one of the inventors of CommandNano technology. He is also a co-founder of the company that is aiming to overcome the manufacturing issues of the nanomedicine by creating a one-step, solvent/water-free continuous nanofracturing platform. This would enable scalable production by halving costs, reducing manufacturing time from hours to minutes, and allowing interactive integration of design and process. The new process maintains product quality and by eliminating the use of solvents or contaminated water, it generates no toxic wastes.
CommandNano is also capable of synthesising other nanomedicine systems such as solid lipid nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers and polymeric nanoparticles. It can also encapsulate small organic molecules, large biological molecules and inorganic nanoparticles.
The technology has already received £500,000 of financial support and is now looking to form a partnership for pilot scale clinical manufacturing. In the coming years it intends to conduct a bioequivalent study on liposomal amphotericin B nanomedicine. It will also file an FDA application in the US for producing generic drugs.
Dr Tian says: “The Enterprise Fellowship has enabled to me to actively engage with companies and organisations within the nanomedicine supply chain. It has also identified the key challenges in relation to the scale-up and commercial production of liposomal nanomedicines.”
2016 NSF-SFI centre-to-centre research project on continuous manufacture of
2017 Invest Northern Ireland Proof-of-Concept project
2018 Ex-vivo nanomedicine comparison
2019 Innovate UK ICURe programme
2019 Dr Justin YW Tian was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 The company made an international patent application for its process platform and formulation
Founder and CEO, Mobilus Labs Ltd
A near-death experience diving off the coast of Mozambique focused Jordan McRae on inventing technology that would enable audio communications between divers underwater. Jordan, an MIT and Stanford engineering graduate, has developed a hands-free, ear-free device that can be used by users out of water too.
Mobilus Labs, the company he founded, has created two-way bone conduction technology that is proving very useful for workers in the construction industry and other sectors where extreme noisy environments can interfere with personal communications.
Mobilus’s first product, the mobiWAN, has a clip-on design that allows it to fit on the back of most industry safety helmets. The technology picks up the user’s voice from vibrations transmitted through their face and skull when they speak without capturing any background noise. The microphones also act as speakers, enabling audio to be transmitted and then received by the user’s inner ear.
Jordan is the Founder and CEO of Mobilus Labs. He became an SME Leader in 2019 and says that the programme has proved useful to the company by providing access to mentors, experts and investors. He says: “It has also furthered my own professional growth by enabling me to take an INSEAD executive leadership course.”
Now Mobilus is looking to deliver the next generation of its voice platforms to market. The company is expanding its team and raising Series A funding of equity investment as well as actively demonstrating its product market fit in construction, energy and manufacturing fields.
Visit Mobilus Lab's website here.
Founder and CEO, Provenance
Jessi Baker founded Provenance in 2013. Jessi says that she launched it “because of a personal frustration about the lack of information available about things we buy. I wanted to buy products from brands that are making robust efforts to better the environment and society”.
Provenance is a software solution for sustainability communications. Its technology enables brands to communicate social and environmental impact with shoppers online and in-store in a credible way, connecting claims to supply chain data and third-party proof.
By doing so, Provenance enables shoppers to drive progress through what they buy and generates rewards for those brands making a positive impact on people and the planet.
Jessi is the CEO of Provenance and became an SME Leader in 2019 – the same year that she was awarded an MBE “for services to global supply chains”. Jessi says that the programme has helped her focus and develop leadership skills as well as get support and guidance from her mentor.
Provenance is now working with well-known businesses in the UK and across global supply chains, including The Princes Group, Pernod Ricard, Fonterra, The Co-op and Cult Beauty, along with NGOs and certification bodies.
Visit Provenance's website here.
COO, mOm Incubators Ltd
Cost-effective, electronically controlled, inflatable incubators, developed by mOm, could help to improve the survival rates of prematurely born babies.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 15 million premature births each year and highlights that preterm birth complications are the leading cause of deaths in children under the age of five, responsible for one million deaths in 2015. Three-quarters of these deaths are said to be preventable with current, cost-effective solutions. Compact, robust inflatable incubators, created by mOm can provide an accessible solution in places that need it.
The incubators have been designed in close collaboration with clinical specialists to ensure that it is both user-friendly and meets clinical quality standards.
Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, Matthew Khoory, has a significant role in leading strategy and business development as the company finalises development and testing of its product. This includes conducting clinical trials to gather the data needed for regulatory approval.
Using training from the SME Leaders Programme, Matthew will develop skills for managing a team that is growing significantly. Mentoring and coaching through the programme will help as Matthew strengthens skills in negotiation and project management to create and foster the partnerships that will support the company’s continued growth.
Visit mOm Incubator's website here.
Tracking items in shops, hospitals, factories and warehouses can be difficult. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) to detect and track passive (battery-free) tags placed on objects can be problematic - hand-held readers can take a very long time, but static/fixed readers often have dead spots and detection accuracy can be as low as 80%.
Dr Sithamparanathan Sabesan is the CEO and Co-Founder of PervasID. PervasID provide the most accurate passive RFID technology available using its patented, ground-breaking innovation. Using advanced signal processing techniques to overcome dead spot challenges, its technology can achieve a detection accuracy of more than 99% over an area of 400m² with a single reader and unlimited coverage with multiple readers. This has enabled the company to establish fixed readers, often in the ceiling, that capture the progress of a passive tag from the moment it enters a building to when it leaves. This ability to pinpoint items, even when they are tightly packed, has led to inward investment for the company of over £4.5 million.
PervasID’s technology is already used in industrial locations to enable tool-tracking in mission-critical applications and in hospitals to track medical devices, PPE and patient flow. In warehouses, shops and factories it provides a record of items from portal to checkout and has additional uses in logistics and supply chain settings.
“The SME Leaders programme provided leadership training that has enhanced my business skills and enabled me to take the company to the next level. We are no longer a startup, we are now a scale-up company. Over the next two years we plan to scale up our business while expanding our innovation and technology.”
Chief Financial Officer and Head of Commercial, Notpla
50% of plastic packaging is used once and thrown away with estimates suggesting that plastics can take several centuries to decompose. Notpla is a plastic alternative, made from plants and brown seaweed, that biodegrades naturally in 4-6 weeks.
Notpla’s sustainable materials can reduce plastic waste and lessen the carbon impact. It is estimated that they have 85 % less associated carbon emission than equivalent plastic packaging. The company’s first product, Ooho, is a flexible biodegradable packaging for beverages and sauces that can even be eaten!. Ideal for products with a short-use life, Oohos can replace plastic cups at sporting events and sachets in take-aways. Oohos recently replaced 40,000 Lucozade bottles at the Virgin Money London Marathon. Notpla’s future packaging solutions include heat sealable films, take-away boxes and nets.
Chief Financial Officer and Head of Commercial, Lise Honsinger, is responsible for business development, strategy and financial planning and leads the company’s transition from development to commercial operations. With a fast-growing team, SME Leader Lise aims to use mentoring and coaching through the programme to help establish operational structures and a culture that promotes growth as Notpla enters new global markets.
Visit Notpla's website here.
CEO, Odin Vision
Odin Vision has developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) technology for endoscopy to help support doctors in detecting and diagnosing cancer.
Patients showing signs of bowel cancer may have a colonoscopy with a small endoscopic camera to inspect tissue for small growths, called polyps, some of which can develop into cancer. These can be challenging for clinicians to detect and diagnose with some studies suggesting that over 20% of polyps can be missed.
Founded by a team of clinicians, medical imaging and AI experts, Odin Vision has developed a suite of tools that use AI to improve detection and diagnosis. The technology uses deep-learning algorithms to identify polyps in real-time so that doctors can more efficiently make diagnoses at the earliest stage possible. This improves patient outcomes by increasing opportunities for early treatment to reduce the incidence and impact of bowel cancer.
Peter Mountney, CEO, is developing a strategy to support Odin Vision through clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval. Peter aims to use a combination of training, mentoring and coaching through the SME Leaders Programme to get timely support in financing and change management at a time of significant growth.
Visit Odin Vision's website here.
Many young children want to engage with and create music but can find it difficult to learn an instrument.
Coming from a musical family, Michael developed the technology to support children to enjoy and be creative with music. He felt that the challenge of getting sounds out of an unfamiliar instrument gets in the way of understanding how notes fit together to make music.
Michael’s solution uses ‘Bops’ - brightly coloured blocks that each play different musical notes when arranged on a board. The Bops can switch between different instrument sounds and be endlessly rearranged to create new tunes and even combined into chords when stacked together.
Designed for children aged three to six years old, Soundbops makes it easy and fun for children to create their own music, discovering as they go what works and what doesn’t.
The technology’s ease-of-use encourages creativity and experimentation. It has strong educational value as it engages children in reading sheet music and composing songs without having to first master a complex musical instrument.
Michael plans to work with toy manufacturers and schools to capture a share of the £45 billion global educational technology market. In February 2018, Michael ran a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising over £50,000 to start manufacturing Soundbops.
Michael was the winner of the Hub’s 2016 Launchpad Competition and received the JC Gammon Award – a prize of £15,000 and Membership of the Hub.
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.
James uses storytelling to help innovative businesses reap the rewards of putting purpose at the heart of their business. Ranked in The Drum’s top 10 UK marketing influencers, he is a published author (Humanizing B2B), mentor and speaker. He’s passionate about helping technology and engineering companies achieve their potential to change the world for good.
James started out working in tech before moving into marketing, as he felt there was a real gap in the industry’s understanding of the fundamentals and potential of technology. After a prestigious grad role at Saatchi and Saatchi he joined Tidalwave in its newly formed strategy department, which shortly thereafter was ranked in the Financial Times’ Fasttrack top 50 fastest growing privately owned companies in the UK at the time. In two of his four years there he was recognised as the agency’s MVP.
He ran award-winning agency Mason Zimbler - recognised as ‘UK Agency of the Year’ by B2B Marketing, and then successfully sold it to a US marketing giant.
As Co-Founder of Rooster Punk, he helps ambitious companies achieve sustainable growth and profitability through a more human and meaningful approach to the way they build their brand. Rooster Punk works with startups like Currencycloud (now a unicorn), scale-ups, VCs and platforms like Crowdcube as well as corporates such as Tata and Samsung.
James is also an advisor, mentor and investor in several other businesses and charities.
Lisa has been building productive teams, driving change and helping people get organised for twenty-five years, working in multi-national corporates and investment banks before starting her own coaching business in 2017. She has extensive experience of hiring, managing and retaining great people and now works with founders and business owners across multiple sectors and industries to help them create inclusive cultures and strong, diverse teams.
Lisa is the bestselling author of The REAL Entrepreneur: How to simplify, grow and enjoy your business, and believes passionately that people management is a core skill for today’s entrepreneur. From her experience working with fast-growing businesses, she’s learned that while you can build a product without a team, it’s impossible to build a business without understanding how to build an inclusive culture and get the best from a diverse group of people. As an operational business coach, Lisa’s focus is always on the fundamental building blocks of business: people and processes.
Professor Norman Apsley OBE FREng recently retired from 18 years as founding Chief Executive of Catalyst Inc (formerly Northern Ireland Science Park), steering the organisation from idea to reality. The NI Science Park was a key first step to transform the near derelict H&W shipyard into the innovation district for Belfast. He had spent the previous two decades at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (now QinetiQ Malvern), where he had researched a wide variety of microwave and optical devices, publishing some 70 scientific papers and patents during his scientific career. He joined management in 1990, rising to Director Electronics and Site Director for the Malvern cluster in the then Defence Research and Evaluation Agency by 1995.
In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, just as he finished his term as Vice-President (Business and Innovation) of the Institute of Physics. He has been an active Enterprise Committee member from the beginning and continues to contribute to its various programmes as reviewer, mentor and on steering groups, most lately the SME Leaders’ Award.
Norman also supports the international work of the Academy. In 2018, he became Chair of the Academy’s Newton-funded project, Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF), which works in all 16 Newton Fund countries. Alongside in-country partners, LIF helps innovators with technology to tackle their country’s sustainable development goals launch startups. Over the past few years, LIf fellows have been built into a thousand strong, peer-to-peer support group across the world.
At home, Norman chairs the Local Economic Development Company serving South and East Antrim and consults occasionally for both public and private sector. In 2012, Norman was awarded an OBE for his contributions to science and economic development. In 2019, the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (Econ Sci) was conferred by Queens University Belfast. In the same year, he was awarded the Max Rainey Medal for service to the Polymer Industry of Northern Ireland. He is looking forward to Belfast becoming the first (of many) spokes to the Enterprise Hub.
"(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.”
Benedikt started his entrepreneurial journey during his undergraduate and has since built multiple companies across renewable energy, enterprise software, deep tech, drug discovery, and healthcare. As an experienced entrepreneur, he has raised millions in venture funding, scaled winning teams across multiple geographies, and closed over 100 deals, including with some of the largest global organisations.
Benedikt also supports several early stage companies, where he helps with fundraising, company strategy and founder journeys. He has mentored more than 50 early stage companies, many during a trip across the African continent.
In his latest venture, Sanome, aims to build a human digital twin to help people understand and maintain their health.
Lavaniya currently works as a Marketing Partner at bp Launchpad, where she serves as a strategic and tactical marketing advisor for portfolio companies.
Though her expertise and experience cover brand marketing, sales enablement and to marketing automation, she is most passionate about content, creative campaigns, and implementing blue ocean strategy. Whether the budget is small, big or non-existent, Lavaniya is able to adapt and utilise available resources to their highest potential and counts herself lucky to have learnt her craft through small failures rather than big successes.
After emigrating to Sweden, Lavaniya started her own media production company at the age of 21. She worked on feature films that never saw the light of day, TV programmes that did, and has produced around 2000 educational YouTube videos for a charity that teaches mathematics after school.
Lavaniya has worked with a diverse range of clients and businesses, spanning private and public sectors, and has lived in six countries across four continents.
After completing her MBA at HEC Paris, she worked in eSports (Fnatic), SaaS, and Telecommunications (at Croatia’s first unicorn company, Infobip) before jumping into the new world of Energy and tackling the energy transition. Outside of work, she’s writing her novel, participating in charity runs, and volunteering as a Trustee at the RSPCA in North London.
Former Inaugural Chair of the Enterprise Committee and a long-standing Academy Fellow, Ian Shott CBE FREng has played a prominent role in establishing the Enterprise Hub. His track record of helping businesses in the engineering and life science sectors transform their approach and improve their vision, ambition, business models and enterprise value is an invaluable resource.
Ian is the Founder and former Executive Chair of contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company ARCINOVA, which he sold to Quotient Sciences in February 2021 and continues as Senior Advisor to the board. Ian is also the Managing Director at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova. Prior to his specialist investment work at Shott Trinova, Ian was the founder and CEO of Excelsyn, which was sold to an American multinational in 2010. Earlier in his career he held numerous senior executive positions at multinational life science companies across the globe.
Ian has a wealth of experience with major industry bodies. He is formerly the Chair of the UK government’s Leadership Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and a Governing Board Member of Innovate UK. Ian is also Visiting Professor at Oxford, Nottingham and Newcastle universities.
“Apart from a deep-seated passion to change the entrepreneurial landscape in the UK and rediscover our legacy from the industrial revolution, I am highly excited by the prospect of engaging with new young talent and using my experience to accelerate and amplify their success. I’ve been involved in mentoring for over a decade but believe the Hub offers a very special opportunity to work with the brightest and best”.
Roy Williamson has been helping companies see how their new innovations can disrupt markets for over 20 years.
For the past six years has been successfully helping early stage companies identify and define their strengths, enhance their uniqueness and develop their storylines to engage investors. Roy’s background is in engineering and cleantech and since 2013, he’s been supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs across a broad area of technologies and innovative business models.
Roy is an aeronautical engineer and started his career at Alstom, developing algorithms and models to estimate hardware costs of power generation gas turbines based purely on, often novel, thermodynamic cycles. He has assessed innovation ecosystems of the UK, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He has also co-authored guides to support technology developers in the UK automotive sector assess technology readiness levels and help those in the biofuels sector to review pathways for second generation biofuels. He’s appraised novel technology solutions for blue-chip clients, developed proof of concepts and carried out due diligence activities to support investor decision making. He is passionate about the UK and knowledge-intensive companies, from software to deeptech.
Roy is Head of Origination at the Department for International Trade with relationships across the department’s teams, government and the UK’s innovation and investment ecosystem.
Formerly the UK Innovation Director for Atkins, Elspeth is the CEO and Founder of IAND, a digital platform that helps major enterprises manage multiple suppliers.
Initially graduating as a chemist, Elspeth later turned her hand to transport and urban design, demonstrating business and technical leadership on over 100 transport planning projects both nationally and around the world.
Elspeth chairs the Enterprise Hub’s Innovators Network and is a judge for the Hub’s Launchpad Competition. She is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
In 2017, Elspeth was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to Engineering and Enterprise.
“I believe that collaboration within our industry is the key to driving innovation faster. I am so proud to be involved with the Enterprise Hub, as a Mentor, and as Chair of the Innovators Network and to support young entrepreneurs as a Judge on Launchpad competition.
It is rare to find a place which brings together startups and established companies to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We have a shared goal which is to fast track the growth of engineering enterprises in the UK. The Enterprise Hub has helped me grow my business and it is helping young engineers build the businesses of the future.”
James Ashe first graduated in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Glasgow. His postgraduate education was sponsored by The General Electric Company and he spent five years as Principal Research Engineer at the GEC-Marconi Research Centre. His research interests included: high-power, high-performance VLSI structures and devices, monolithic microwave integrated circuits and electronic interconnection and packaging.
He then joined Cambridge-based Anamartic (A Tandem Computer and Fujitsu Company) working on fault tolerant WSI (Wafer Scale Integration) devices. Jim was one of the first employees of Xaar PLC and was heavily involved in IP Licensing and fundamental in developing Xaar’s microfabrication facility on the Cambridge Science Park. He helped found Intense Photonics (a spin out based on IP in the field of quantum well intermixing - owned by the University of Glasgow) where he led the commercial activities. Intense Photonics raised over £56 million in private venture funding. Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics as Director of Commercialisation and Industry Engagement, he led the commercial activities in IP Licensing at the commercial arm of DSTL (Defence Scientific and Technical Laboratories). Jim is also the Director of Innovation at the Bayes Centre – the University of Edinburgh's innovation hub for data science and artificial intelligence.