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.
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.
There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year. Almost two-thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability and in need of rehabilitation, with arms and hands most commonly affected.
Through his digital health startup Neurofenix, Guillem Singla Buxarrais is seeking to increase the accessibility and effectiveness of post-stroke rehabilitation with the NeuroBall, a novel and cost-effective medical device making bold changes to stroke rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy exercises can be repetitive and boring, whereas the Neuroball encourages users to exercise the whole arm, from shoulder to fingers, through a set of entertaining games, keeping the user engaged in their therapy.
Engineered with stroke survivors and physiotherapists from inception, the mobile application and handheld controller is a user-friendly device that helps people to regain function in an enjoyable way, as verified in user testing.
Guillem’s experience of volunteering in stroke rehabilitation motivated him to ensure that stroke survivors and physiotherapists were involved with the engineering of the device from inception. The mobile application and handheld controller is user-friendly and helps people to regain function in an enjoyable way, as verified in user testing.
The Neuroball has been engineered to sensitively monitor recovery. It shows stroke survivors their progress, and they can share results with a supportive online community, helping them to feel re-connected with family, friends and other survivors.
Guillem was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to continue developing this technology and the Neurofenix team has grown rapidly as a result. It is also supported by the Nominet Trust and Entrepreneur First.
"The Enterprise Fellowship had a profound impact on Neurofenix’s progress and reducing our time to market. Our mentor and the Enterprise team provided invaluable support throughout."
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.