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.
Over four million cosmetic and aesthetic procedures are performed each year globally. Of these, 17% are facial rejuvenation treatments such as wrinkle and fine line removal.
Popular as the treatments are, the current options for patients are quite limited. Facial rejuvenation entails the use of laser, intense pulsed light (IPL), dermal fillers (such as botox and collagen), dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, chemical peels or radio frequency therapy.
Research has shown that patients have issues with each of these options. The size of treatment zones, lack of fine depth control, levels of discomfort, recovery times and anaesthetic requirements are a real problem.
Dr Thomas Frame leads the development of a new approach that does away with most of these issues: the Halo System.
Created by start-up Fourth State Medicine (4SM), the Halo System is a cosmetic enhancement technology that does away with fine lines and wrinkles by removing the top layer of the epidermis and causing contraction of the layers below. It has significant benefits over existing treatments including reduced scarring, quicker recovery and less discomfort.
The Halo system is in development at the Surrey Space Centre and was inspired by the electric propulsion technology used to drive spacecraft. It has been successfully demonstrated by Broomfield Hospitals Histology, and 4SM has worked with the University of Manchester to demonstrate that the ‘Halo effect’ provided by the system promotes wound healing which reduces patient scarring and recovery times.
The technology is also being used to develop a wound sterilisation system that reduces bacteria impact and scars with faster recovery. Initial tests with the University of Manchester’s Hardman Group laboratories have had impressive results: more than 95% of Methicillion-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and the resistant strain MRSA bacteria were killed by the treatment.
Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder, LettUs Grow Ltd
Efficient and sustainable processes for irrigation and control are transforming food production in urban environments. LettUs Grow has developed a patent-pending aeroponic technology that delivers higher yields in vertical farms and greenhouses. When combined with the company’s integrated farm management software, it provides farmers with a hassle-free way of optimising crop conditions.
LettUs Grow’s aeroponic farming technology can be used in vertical farms to grow plants without soil, by watering their roots with a fine mist. This results in greater crop yields, while using less water and not compromising quality or taste.
Ben Crowther, Chief Technical Officer, leads the development of LettUs Grow’s technology. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, he has taken part in leadership training to gain essential management skills at a time of rapid growth. Since receiving the award in 2018, he has increased staff numbers from eight to 19. The company has also closed a £2.35 million seed investment round and received funding from Innovate UK.
In 2020, LettUs Grow completed a world-leading aeroponic research centre that will be a test-bed for optimising the operation of vertical farms for its customers. This will help the company as it starts to deliver projects across the UK and Europe, supporting its goal of being an established name in the indoor farming industry.
Musical expression is challenging. When it comes to capturing and translating our musical impulses, existing tools and controllers can be frustrating and limited. Capturing ideas via traditional MIDI devices can be rewarding but also slow and counterintuitive.
As CEO of the start-up Vochlea Music (VM), innovator George Wright has developed an audio engine that can understand vocally produced sounds, and uses these to control live instrumentation.
Vochlea’s audio engine learns the voice of the user; tracking pitch, expression and multiple other parameters to convert their voice into the ultimate MIDI controller.
By harnessing the potential of our voices, the VM audio engine can help amateur and professional music producers alike, to creatively prototype new sounds and songs.
Vochlea Music is continuing to develop their tools powered whilst working in collaboration with Abbey Road Studios.
They are preparing to launch the Dubler Studio Kit with integrated software and bespoke microphone that allows anyone to easily and intuitively create, control and manipulate audio samples and instrumentation.
George was awarded a 2017 RAEng 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship to further develop Vochlea and support his work in bringing technologies powered by it to market.
"The Enterprise Hub has connected me to a mentor with strong links in music production. I’ve also valued having access to the new Taylor Centre - it’s a smart, professional, well-located space that has been hugely helpful for mobile entrepreneurs and innovators like me."
There are 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK and children are the fastest-growing user group. For many wheelchair users, comfort and independent use is restricted because of poor postural support.
Poor posture impacts a child’s ability to breathe, swallow and communicate, affecting physical health and deterring them from socially engaging with the world comfortably and independently. There are over 70,000 young wheelchair users in the UK and parents with a disabled child spend an average of £200 million annually on specialist equipment.
Aergo has developed responsive, postural support seating for young wheelchair users. It uses pressure-sensitive inflatable supports that react to a user’s position to reinforce posture.
Aergo’s cost-effective solution works by inflating or deflating separate cells to achieve a natural and responsive form of support. Controlled either by the user or automatically, the technology increases independence by reducing the need for manual repositioning.
Current solutions are bulky and expensive. Some use straps and wedges to fix users into a single position, which restrict movement. This can lead to poor blood circulation and an increased likelihood of developing pressure ulcers. For children with cerebral palsy, scoliosis and paraplegia, Aergo posture support is adaptable for use in a variety of chairs and buggies, and expands in width for longer-term use.
Working with a special educational needs school inspired Sheana Yu, Founder and CEO, to find better ways to support children to interact with their environment. This led to the development of the seating technology, Sheana now leads the startup in finalising designs to comply with safety standards. The aim is to launch Aergo seating to market by 2020.
Sheana Yu was awarded the 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her startup Aergo.
The ability to manipulate sound waves could lead to new opportunities and products in a wide range of sectors, from medical imaging to improved building acoustics. Achieving this is a challenge as many current technologies are large, inefficient and expensive.
Metasonics’ new technology can focus, sculpt and direct soundwaves in real time, bringing enhanced control and new functionality to sound.
Similar to how a projector transforms a single light beam into a vast and varied image, the technology can make a single speaker sound like hundreds of individual speakers. It uses acoustic metamaterials, and is a cost-effective, compact and scalable solution with the potential to disrupt a range of sectors.
The patented technology easily and flexibly manipulates sound and can be adapted to different contexts and environments. It also has lower power consumption, so increases the applications of a single device.
Sectors that could benefit include building and architecture where the technology can be used for effective sound insulation. Metasonics filters (such as sound-proof windows) are suitable for places where light and air flow are beneficial, yet external noise levels are an obstacle.
It could also improve ultrasonic testing for non-destructive safety evaluation in structures such as bridges, aircrafts and power stations. The ultrasound technology also opens up new possibilities in medical therapies and diagnostics. Metasonics’ solutions can improve the quality and detail in non-invasive imaging and help to tailor therapies such as high-intensity-focused ultrasound, which is used to reduce tumours and in various fat reduction and plastic surgeries.
Metasonics initial market focus is silence through smart engineering within the automotive sector. Its technology can provide more effective and efficient control strategies to help improve comfort and sound insulation inside a vehicle cockpit.
In consumer or other more complex markets, Metasonics’ technology shares a common goal: increase efficiency and cost reduction for end users. Current and future products encompass proprietary designs, which yield substantial benefits over competitive products, enable new applications and open up new markets.
Dr Mihai Caleap, CEO, has a multidisciplinary background and leads the startup in optimising designs and prototyping with a view to creating the first spatial sound modulator for shaping and manipulating sound.
Dr Caleap was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to provide him with time to develop Metasonics’ technology and support the company’s growth.
Minimally invasive surgery offers significant benefits over conventional surgery. Smaller incisions lead to faster healing times and improved patient outcomes. However, these intricate procedures can be challenging to perform. Up to one in six surgeries still result in complications, many of which could be prevented by using better surgical planning tools.
Innersight’s 3D modelling technology can be used by surgeons to improve operative planning. It uses medical scans to create interactive, 3D models of a patient’s anatomy. Surgeons can then refine these models, using interactive artificial intelligence tools, to plan surgeries and visualise potential risks.
The technology uses deep learning algorithms to create accurate models that can be viewed on mobile devices, used in virtual reality or 3D printed. Innersight’s solutions are web-based, allowing surgeons to build and view models from any computer with an internet connection without installing specialised software.
Their retrospective clinical study has shown that the technology has helped surgeons adapt their approach in up to one in five cases. This leads to better informed decisions about, for example, which vessels to clamp or the right area for tissue incision. By reducing the risk of complications, the technology will help patients to have shorter hospital stays and save healthcare providers money.
Dr Eoin Hyde, CEO, draws on significant experience in computational physiology and the development of medical devices, as he leads Innersight towards making its technology widely available.
From abdominal and thoracic soft-tissue operations to orthopaedics and cardiac surgeries, Innersight is expanding its products to capture a share of the global minimally invasive surgery market, currently valued at $40 billion.
Dr Hyde was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him as he leads Innersight in bringing its solutions to market.
Wood biomass is a clean alternative to unsustainable petrol-derived materials, fuels and chemicals, but its use is limited as it requires fractionation, a complex and costly separation process.
Lixea, an Imperial College London spinout, has developed a sustainable, cost-effective method for biomass fractionation - the process for separating wood components for use in other materials.
Lixea’s technology makes uses of low-cost ionic liquids to separate wood components. Known as BioFlex, the technology serves as a one-size-fits-all process for use with different types of biomass including waste wood, agricultural by-products and sustainably grown energy crops.
Over 1.6 billion tonnes of waste woody biomass are available globally in forms such as waste wood, palm residues and wheat and rice straw. This is a significant market that could make use of Lixea’s solutions to turn wood biomass into components, cellulose and lignin. These can then be used to make products including papers and films, bio-plastics and fine chemical and bio-derived adhesives.
Named as one of Europe’s most promising game-changers under 30 by Forbes, Dr Florence Gschwend has continuously engaged in entrepreneurial initiatives both during her PhD and since. Her interest in using engineering for societal and environmental benefit inspired the development of Lixea. Florence now leads the spinout in designing a pilot facility to refine its technology.
Dr Gschwend was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support her work in developing the BioFlex technology and the growth of Lixea as it prepares to bring its solutions to market.
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.
Flexible, transparent electronics are increasingly in demand to support advances in electronic technologies. However, developments in materials science currently limits the availability of materials with the right properties.
Graphexe Nanotechnology have used graphene to create an ultra-thin, flexible and transparent material known as GraphExeter. The material has a distinctive combination of properties – it is as conductive as metal and as flexible as plastics. This creates new possibilities for advances in electronics in areas such as flexible lighting, foldable screens and other display technologies.
As a researcher with expertise in two-dimensional materials, Dr Liping Lu is helping Graphexe Nanotechnology to design integrated manufacturing processes for consistent and reliable production. The aim is to draw on the material’s properties to make it in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way.
Graphexe Nanotechnology is working in partnership with leading technology companies to refine and develop the use of its material in a range of new devices. This includes collaborations with Cambridge Display Technology, a leading developer of flexible lighting, and BOE, a global leader in manufacturing displays for mobile phones, tablets, televisions and other consumer electronics.
As Graphexe Nanotechnology grows in scale, with support from its partners its focus is to target the display technology and OLED-based lighting industry, which has a projected value of $10 billion by 2028.
Dr Lu was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to further develop Graphexe Nanotechnology.
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.
John is a highly experienced executive and senior consultant across the oil and gas, renewable energy and digital technology sectors, as well as a member of many international boards. He has significant interest in the commercial and technology challenges that energy transition presents, especially as these intersect with corporations’ digital transformation.
John is currently Chair of the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund Board, which specialises in the commercialisation of grid-level storage investments. The company is now the largest energy storage fund in the UK and is the market leader. In November 2018, the company listed on LSE at £100 million and at the end of 2020 had a market cap of around £250 million; it is on a strong growth trajectory and should double in size over the next 24 months.
Until April 2019, John was an advisor to the Board of ACWA Power International (Riyadh), the largest independent power producer in Saudi Arabia. Until December 2017, he was on the Board of the ASX-listed Carnegie Clean Energy, based in Perth, WA. He is also an investor and Board member of Global Integrity, a cybersecurity software and cyber consultancy firm based in Washington DC.
John spent more than 25 years working at BP, the last 10 of which were spent at the corporate executive level in various roles including:
In his early career, John worked on the design and construction of nuclear power generation plants in UK.
Since leaving BP, John has been active as a senior advisor to blue chip global consultants specialising in the energy sector, energy transition and corporate digital transformation.
John serves on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Committee.
Professor Dick Whittington FREng is an entrepreneur, business mentor and investor, focusing on the software industry and digital marketplaces, with over 30 years of experience in business. His experience has included co-founding a successful international software business recognised in UK through three Queen's Awards covering both innovation and international trade.
In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he plays an active role, including as a mentor for early-stage technology startups and spin-outs through its highly successful Enterprise Hub. He is also an active mentor and angel investor within several London and regional technology accelerator programmes, and is Honorary Professor of Business Innovation at the University of York.
Prior to pursuing business interests, Dick lectured in computer science at the University of York. He managed a successful research team and published several research papers and books. His latest book Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Cambridge University Press, 2018) provides an introduction to digital business for STEM students and early-stage entrepreneurs.
"The concept of the Enterprise Hub resonated with me as a solid, practical initiative to benefit UK engineering through engaging the Academy’s extraordinary network of talent. The role of the Hub in launching and scaling such businesses is of enormous value to the UK economy and the engineering profession.”
Paul Taylor FREng has led the delivery of some of the most demanding national security programmes in the UK, operating at the very highest levels of government. He is uniquely qualified to understand the evolving threat environment, as well as having an exceptional track record of driving and delivering change in complex organisations. Paul’s contribution to the world of science technology was recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013, where he now sits on its Engineering Policy Committee.
Paul is Deputy Managing Director at AWE plc, where he is responsible for providing the AWE Board and UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) with assurance of delivery of the £1 billion per annum nuclear warhead programme. Prior to this, he was Director General of Technology and Chief Information Officer in a central government department, where he was a member of both ExCo and the main board.
He held the position of Director General of Strategic Technologies and then Director General of Equipment in MOD, and Senior Responsible Owner for the UK’s Future Nuclear Deterrent. Paul was the first Chief Executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The post carried responsibility for all elements of defence research and the 3,000 staff that were retained within government following the split of MOD R&D activities into QinetiQ and DSTL.
A member of several government technical advisory committees, Paul also chairs the Advisory Board of the Imperial College Institute of Security Science and Technology. He is currently advising and exercising several global retail and investment banks at board level, helping to address their cyber and information protection challenges. Paul sits on a number of bank board risk committee advisory panels.
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.”
Dr Liane Smith FREng founded Intetech Ltd in 1991, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2012 for its software. She sold the business to Wood Group in 2013 and in 2018 she left to form a new consulting engineering business, Larkton Ltd.
Liane is enthusiastic about the capability of digital technologies to transform businesses, bringing efficiencies, cost reduction, production control and increasing safety. In her last role as Senior Vice President Digital Solutions for Wood, she built the new global service line and defined its strategy roadmap and development plan. Her expertise is in various specialist branches of engineering in the industrial and energy sectors and in software product design and commercialisation, data management, data analysis, and analytics.
“I try to fill in gaps in mentees experience and give them confidence in their decisions. Typically we touch on building strong teams, role and task delegation, agile development, growing sales, exporting and strategy."
Sir Peter Bonfield CBE FREng is a leading international business executive with over 50 years’ experience in the fields of electronics, computers and communications. Change management in international technology companies has been at the centre of his long and illustrious career.
Since 2002 Sir Peter has been involved with a diverse portfolio of companies and is currently operating at main board level or director of several companies in the US, Europe and the Far East. In the past, he has served in as CEO of ICL and more recently of BT Group.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1993), the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Marketing Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
Sir Peter is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, Freeman of the City of London, Honorary Citizen of Dallas, Texas and Member of The Pilgrims of Great Britain.
More information about Sir Peter can be found at www.sirpeterbonfield.com
Scientist and entrepreneur Dr Graeme Malcolm is CEO and founder of the multi-award-winning photonics and quantum technology company, M Squared. M Squared is headquartered in the UK with offices globally and is one of the UK's most innovative and disruptive technology businesses, well-known for creating the world's purest light.
Graeme finds technological and entrepreneurial solutions to some of society's greatest problems from improving healthcare to halting climate change. He's a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society Edinburgh, and The Institute of Physics and his achievements include an OBE for his services to Science and Innovation, The Swan Medal from the Institute of Physics, and Entrepreneur of the Year at the Amazon Growing Business Awards.
Dr Mark Selby joined Ceres Power in 2006 as a control systems engineer and spent several years in various leadership roles. In 2013, he became Chief Technology Officer as part of deploying a new corporate strategy to embed Ceres Technology through licensing to world-leading product companies like Bosch, Weichai, Doosan and Honda.
Mark is responsible for all aspects of the Steel Cell technology and brings 20 years of experience in clean technology product development, always working in multidisciplinary teams to solve hard science and engineering problems. As CTO, he sits at the interface of the commercial, technology, shareholders and wider stakeholders’ worlds and uses this insight to build ambitious collaborative programs that create value for everyone involved in the journey.
Prior to joining Ceres Power, he was part of the Control and Electronics Team at Ricardo UK Limited. Mark has degrees in electronics, dynamics and control systems from the University of Leeds and is a charted engineer.
His mission is to get world-changing science out of the lab and into products that actually change the world.
Professor Roger Benson FREng retired from full-time employment 2003. Since retiring he has been a part time consultant in world-class performance, working with the NDA and other organisations. In addition he has been a Chairman/Director of four university spin-out companies: PAROS (failed), Perceptive Engineering Ltd (recently sold), Industrial Tomography Systems (slow growth) and TDL Sensors Ltd (sold). When requested he is also an assessor for Innovate UK, EPSRC and EU projects.
Roger has been a judge for the UK Best Factory Awards for over 20 years. During that period he has visited and benchmarked over 200 of the best UK manufacturing plants across all industries.
Over a 35-year industrial career Roger worked for ICI. Positions included Chief Engineer of ICI Engineering Technology and Head of the Global Control / Electrical Function. He created and managed the ICI internal Manufacturing Technology capability. In 1993 he was seconded to the DTI Innovation Unit for two years where he coordinated and published the Winning Report. For the last four years of his career he was acquired by ABB where he was the Global Technology Programmes for ABB Analytics and Advanced Solutions, and an Executive member of ABB Process Solutions.
In 1999 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has published over 80 papers, and given many presentations on innovation, process control, benchmarking, world-class manufacturing and the future of the Process Industries. In 1999 Roger wrote and published the Institution of Chemical Engineers book, Benchmarking Process Manufacturing. It is still the only book on the subject. He has been a Visiting Professor to three UK universities.