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.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are nearly one million preventable neonatal deaths each year. Keeping the infant warm could save thousands of newborns each day. However, most incubators are too large, complicated and expensive for universal use.
James Roberts became aware of the problem of pre-term deaths in a documentary while studying product design and engineering. He co-founded mOm Incubators Ltd to create a solution, and led the strategic development of a lightweight, collapsible neonatal incubator that maintains a regulated thermal environment for newborns to thrive in.
James is the CEO of mOm and the innovation has won numerous awards. In 2019, he became an SME Leader and says that the programme came at the right time to help the company. “The coaching has allowed me to work through a particularly challenging time for the business and we’ve come out stronger for it.”
The company has recently raised over £1 million in development funding and is preparing clinical investigations while applying for CE marking. In 2021, mOm will start its commercial evaluation phase, aiming to go to market soon after.
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.
Surgeons need accurate, objective information to support decision making during minimally invasive surgery. They regularly rely on sight for intricate processes such as placing stents - small metallic tubes - in blood vessels in brain aneurysm patients. Better information could improve patient outcomes and save millions of pounds from being spent on corrective surgeries.
After her PhD at Oxford in Biomedical Engineering, Katerina Spranger has founded Oxford Heartbeat – a start-up company that has developed a medical device that accurately simulates the behaviour of medical devices inside patient’s brain during surgery.
Engineered to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy, the device improves surgeons’ ability to choose the correct stent for every individual patient. This aims to reduce surgery times, improve patient outcomes, decrease the likelihood of repeat surgeries, and save costs for hospitals and wider society.
The technology has been designed for easy and intuitive use by surgeons. By combining accessibility with precision, this virtual platform has the potential to become an essential tool for minimally invasive brain surgery. The start-up’s plans include exploring the use of its technology to optimise other types of surgery in the future.
Katerina was awarded the 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her start-up, Oxford Heartbeat.
When Disabled Student Allowance funding for transcription services and note-takers was abolished in 2016, universities scrambled to find ways of supporting disabled students. Existing transcription services were prohibitively expensive and disabled students were at risk of missing out on hours of lectures each week.
Dr Yunjia Li and Professor Mike Wald founded Synote to address the need for accessible lecture videos. Synote is designed to deliver videos that are less costly and produced quicker than traditional methods. The system automatically generates an interactive transcript and captions from a video or audio copy of a lecture, and can integrate with university lecture-capture systems.
Synote can process the many tens of thousands of lectures given at universities each year, and users can quickly search through their transcripts for specific topics. The system even creates screenshots for each part of the lecture which can be printed with the transcript. Synote can also be used to automatically translate lecture transcripts into other languages, which can open up university education to a much broader base of international students. A unique ‘feedback loop’ enables students to correct speech recognition transcription errors to continually improve the transcript’s accuracy as the system ‘learns’ how to match new words with sounds.
Southampton University has invested significantly in Synote and other leading universities have expressed great interest. The ability to improve the learning experience of all students and particularly students with difficulties hearing or understanding lecturers, taking notes or attending lectures is of great value and significance to these institutions.
Although Synote was originally developed for universities, it can reduce the cost of captions and transcriptions in any business where video or audio recordings are used.
When grains like wheat and barley are stored in sheds and silos for long periods of time, there is a risk of damage from insect infestations and mould. Long-term storage losses can be up to 20% and there is currently no single way to verify the moisture and temperature of grains being held.
Existing grain-monitoring solutions measure only one variable and have limited reach. Crover Ltd’s remote monitoring device provides real-time data across a range of measurements including temperature and moisture through the whole silo. It does this by using sensors in a small robotic device called a Crover. Similar to a drone’s wings in air, or a boat’s rotor in water, it uses a patented method to move through solid grains and build up a map of conditions within the grain storage unit.
Lorenzo Conti, founder of Crover, made his breakthrough when researching his doctorate in granular physics at the University of Edinburgh. He developed a method for moving through groupings of solid particles like sand, grains and powders. His company patented the core technology for locomotion in bulk solids and is now developing a version of the probing device that can be tested and reviewed by potential buyers.
Lorenzo’s robot system will allow customers such as farmers, brewers, cooperatives, as well as grain merchants, to identify adverse conditions in their stock. The potential for the technology is substantial. In one year, one Crover could save up to 380 tonnes of grain from damage.
Crover has won a dozen prizes and competitions in the last couple of years and as well as seed funding. The company now has five full-time members staff and an international Patent Corporation Treaty application pending. Potential future applications for the innovation include subterranean exploration and the recovery of underground objects buried in terrains like desert sand and the Moon’s lunar soil.
Lorenzo says: “Looking back over the last 12 months I can see how I’ve made the steps from being a researcher to becoming an entrepreneur. The Enterprise Fellowship and Higgs Centre for Innovation, Edinburgh, have made sure that I had a clear path to follow.”
2018 – Shell Livewire – ‘Smarter Future’
2018 – Climate Launchpad Global – third place (highest UK team placement ever)
2019 – Started first on-site tests
2019 – DR Lorenzo Conti was awarded with an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 – Chivas Venture global award
2020 – UK patent covering the core technology for locomotion in bulk solids granted (GB2567898)
Visit their website: www.crover.tech
Christine Boyle was working as the managing director of her family roofing business when she realised that there was huge potential for the collection of solar heat energy on the large commercial flat roofs that her company constructed. Solar thermal is a renewable energy that is 70% efficient, produces the lowest carbon emissions, and is easily generated on site, but had not been widely used because of its expense, weight and inflexibility with existing architecture.
Christine set up Senergy Innovations to create the next generation of solar thermal panels. She worked with Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster to produce the product, ensuring that the renewable energy panels addressed the problems that previous solar thermal panels faced as well as making panels that appealed to consumers and architects.
Senergy Innovations’ solar thermal panel is made from 100% polymer plastic, making it 50% cheaper to manufacture and install than existing products. The panels incorporate carbon nanotube materials that enhance the thermal performance and mechanical strength, which ensures that they are durable. The module panels are lightweight, and allow integrations with both existing and new buildings, so that renewable thermal energy can be easily generated on site.
Senergy’s solar thermal panels are affordable, durable and easy to integrate, creating a renewable energy solution that is competitive with gas and oil.
A lack of smart energy storage options is linked to poor energy distribution in developing countries and inefficient energy management in developed ones.
Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, CEO and Co-Founder of H2GO Power, has engineered new hydrogen-based energy storage units that use patented catalyst that allow energy to be released on demand.
This clean, low-cost energy storage solution has the capacity to store five to ten times as much energy as their battery equivalents. It could impact energy storage at every scale, from the provision of low-weight energy for drones to large-scale energy storage for national grids.
As an innovator with a strong drive to generate social impact, Enass Abo-Hamed aims to harness the technology’s abilities to utilise excess renewables, and facilitate reliable distribution of power in countries where energy supply is intermittent.
Initiatives are underway to penetrate the fast-growing, green energy market in remote islands, where H2GO Power’s Hydrogen based fuel units would offer a clean, low-cost solution for round-the-clock power.
There is also significant industrial interest from companies keen to explore other ways this disruptive technology can support smarter energy management.
Enass was awarded the 2017 Enterprise Hub Fellowship to help grow and develop her start-up, H2GO Power.
Caristo Diagnostics has patented a test that analyses CT heart scans for signs of inflammation in the coronary arteries, which is a key process in the lead up to heart attacks. The company uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to detect biomarkers in a patient’s CT scan to predict the likelihood of that person having a heart attack. The results can be used by healthcare providers to suggest risk-reduction schemes and deploy appropriate treatments for the patient.
Dr David Schottlander is the Chief Technical Officer at Caristo, responsible for research, development and system operations. David joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and hopes to use the mentoring and training it provides to help maintain the high performance culture across the R&D team as it scales to support the company’s growth.
Caristo’s software will soon be launched in the UK and US. Once it gets regulatory approval, the company will market its software as a service, with healthcare providers sending patients’ CT scans for analysis. By the end of 2021, the clinical services should be in regular use by early adopters leading to mass market implementation.
Caristo’s innovation will help change medical intervention from being reactive to proactive. It will increase the opportunities to avoid fatal heart attacks and could save billions of pounds in cardiac care worldwide.
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.