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.
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.
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.”
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.