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.
Matthew has developed and patented Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI) as a novel manufacturing platform with his product, Alpin.
ULPI can implant any glass with femtosecond-laser generated plasma – a highly charged and energetic gas, such as one containing optically active elements. This introduces visible or light-activated colouring (e.g. when exposed to UV) to glass.
Using a mask much like a stencil, ULPI can create a pattern upon the surface such as a barcode or branding.
This could have any number of applications such as an anti-counterfeiting measure, made unique for an individual batch or product. It could provide security and authenticity for diverse products such as pharmaceutical, alcohol and perfume bottles. The invention could add a unique selling point to a product as well as limiting the severe health and financial implications of counterfeiting.
Matthew founded Ultramatis Ltd as a spin-out of the University of Leeds to further expand the possibilities of this exciting technology.
Angus is working to ensure transport companies improve margins through better investment in efficiency solutions. An average heavy goods vehicle in the UK uses £42,000 of fuel annually. For haulage companies operating on extremely tight margins averaging between one to three percent, savings on fuel can have a huge effect on their profits.
There are a number of products available on the market designed to improve the efficiency of haulage vehicles, but a lack of evidence of savings on fuel has limited their uptake. Angus established his start-up Dynamon to address this lack of quantifiable data for the haulage industry.
Dynamon combines big data from vehicles with dynamic modelling and statistics in order to give hauliers tailored recommendations on the products that will help them make the greatest savings. It can also be used to help in gauging impact on air quality improvement programmes.
The company has two main products, both of which provide measurements that are far more reliable and accurate than MPG (miles per gallon) or litres per 100km.
The first product, Advanced Fuel Measurement, measures fuel savings from tracking aerodynamics, fuel additives, driver training and regenerative braking. Dynamon’s software links directly to vehicle telematics data and can measure vehicle performance without variables caused by driver behaviour, route, traffic, and vehicle weight.
Dynamon's second product is currently under development. The Fuel Saving Platform utilises a database of fuel saving products to recommend those that provide best return on investment (ROI) for a particular company. This ensures road transport companies invest in the correct fuel saving products based on how they use their vehicles.
Wayve Technologies has created a software system that teaches cars to drive autonomously. Rather than use sensors and hand-coded rules, it uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning to navigate city streets.
Initially, Wayve-vehicles are trained using simulated environments. This knowledge is then taken onto the road where a safety driver prompts and intervenes when needed. The car learns to drive autonomously through this reinforced learning supported by cameras and GPS navigation. Wayve Technologies’ vehicles have successfully negotiated roads they have never been on before without the need for an HD map of the environment.
Alex Kendall co-founded Wayve in 2017 and is currently CEO. When he joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020, his company had already generated £20 million of investment from interested organisations worldwide. Alex hopes that the networking opportunities the programme provides will help his company generate product strategies and promote organisational growth. The wealth of engineering experience within the programme will be relevant, as robotics, mechanical and software engineering are all crucial for developing autonomous vehicles.
Alex’s mission over the coming years is to advance the role of machine-learning for self-driving cars. He plans to have vehicles using Wayve technology deployed across European cities and wants the company to demonstrate that scalable autonomy can be achieved without the need for HD-mapping infrastructure or hand-coded behavioural rules.
Jack founded the innovative startup Massless to address the frustration of working with computers using existing devices.
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) will move us far beyond just using the keyboard, mouse and touchscreen (2D) to new 3D mixed reality interaction with computers.
Massless is developing an interaction layer allowing people to experience new approaches such as using fingers, high precision devices and mobile devices.
This would affect user interaction in both work and play. High-quality Massless solutions can improve productivity for professionals such as developers, designers and engineers and also improve mobile VR interaction for entertainment.
RoboK Ltd is a Cambridge startup that produces 3D-sensing software for automotive and industrial applications. Its technology uses computer vision and deep learning to enable optimised perception on low-power computing platforms. The company’s technology provides in-depth spatial information to plan paths and avoid collisions.
This low-cost solution brings the safety benefits of machine-learning and decision-making to a wider public. RoboK’s technology is optimised for general-purpose and low-power computing platforms to enable efficient and fast real-time processing. Its perception module will detect and avoid objects for advanced driver assistance systems and is useful for automated navigation, for example automated forklifts and other automated-guided vehicles.
Hao Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of RoboK and is responsible for business and commercialisation. Hao joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020 and is looking forward to participating in topical round-tables and workshops. She says: “I am particularly interested in the training courses and coaching from experienced mentors. The training programmes will help us develop team building and improve commercial negotiations.”
The company is hoping to grow its list of customers and partners. It wants to expand its market range for both automotive and industrial uses to include commercial and agricultural applications.
People with poor control over their bladders increasingly prefer to use intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) for treatment. This is the procedure where the patients insert catheters via their urethra into their own bladder by themselves.
Thanks to the greater degree of personal independence and lower infection risk there are over 600 million ISC sold each year. However, the regular insertion of catheters can be painful and lead to complications such as urethral damage, bleeding and inflammation.
The lubricant coatings traditionally used on catheters haven't changed in a decade. They tend to dry out quickly, making them less slippery. This means inserting and removing a catheter can become difficult and painful.
Nicola, Professor Colin McCoy and her team at Queen’s University Belfast developed a new coating that is cheaper, more slippery, stays wet longer and adheres strongly to the catheter which eases insertion and reduces damage on removal.
By transforming catheterisation into a quick and painless process patients can easily do themselves, Uroglide is expected to save medical personnel time and, importantly, make a life-changing difference to the dignity and health of patients.
Uroglide is undergoing independent testing and expected to be available for use by patients in healthcare and home settings next year.
“With the training and mentoring provided through my Enterprise Fellowship, I hope to be able to confidently make the transition from the academic environment to the commercial world. I’m keen to develop my entrepreneurial skills and business acumen so that I can effectively drive the expansion of the company.”
Dr David Heath is founder and CEO of Cutitronics Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Strathclyde. David identified a gap in the market for personalised, adaptive skin care which would harness the power of engineering and technology-based innovation, to support consumers in achieving their desired skincare and beauty results.
Cutitronics offers a menu of patented CutiTron™ technology including assessment of personal skin health, a unique method of automated skin stimulation to enhance topical product absorption and precise personalised product dosage. The technology becomes intuitive through adaptive coaching, supporting the consumer to achieve optimum results.
In August 2017 the company announced a strategic partnership with FTSE 100 Company Croda International plc, who recognised CutiTron™ technology as truly innovative and disruptive for the personal care industry. The partnership will support David and the Cutitronics team to progress their ambitious growth and development plans, taking the technology from prototype to market-ready.
"Breaking into such a huge and established market is both an exciting and challenging prospect. The experience of my mentor, Dr Jeremy Burroughes, will be invaluable in this respect, and gaining this recognition for my technology from the Royal Academy of Engineering stands me in excellent stead to take it to market."
Ben is a research associate at Imperial College London and a founder of MicroTech Ceramic Ltd. The company is producing new catalytic convertor technology to reduce exhaust emissions in vehicles.
Catalytic convertors are used in engines to convert the pollutants in exhaust gas into less toxic pollutants. This is done by using ceramic substrates to connect exhaust gas with the catalyst.
Innovations and advances in this field had plateaued in the last decade, but MicroTech’s system has changed that.
Ben has developed an advanced structure of the substrate that provides a larger surface area for the contact and thereby make it more efficient.
This drastically reduces the quantity of precious metal required in the catalyst and the production cost of the catalytic converter overall.
The new structure also delivers a two to three percent fuel saving and offers high performance
cars an equivalent increase in engine power.
Microtech's system means the size of catalytic convertors can be reduced by around 50%. As this offers engine and exhaust system designers greater freedom, it is a benefit that has already garnered significant interest from the automotive industry.
“Having spent two years beginning to commercialise my technology, I’m now at the stage where the project needs support from experienced and like-minded individuals to develop collaborations, generate funding and fully understand customer needs. With its focus on helping researchers quickly make the transition from academia to operating as a fully-fledged entrepreneur, the Enterprise Hub is the perfect support platform.”
Scientists use atomic force microscopes to examine matter such as biological cells and bacteria at the nanoscale.
Loren set out to develop the fastest one in the world, and achieved this ground-breaking goal in 2014.
His project is unique in that it can map not only the height of the sample surface but also its stiffness and conductance with nanometre resolution.
The microscope has a touch screen interface so that scientists can use ‘multi-touch’ gestures much like on smartphones to interact with samples in real time.
This improves usability, makes analysis quicker.and opens up new ways of manipulating samples. And it lets non-skilled operators control the instrument.
Having already invested significant time in his research at the University of Bristol, Loren is now commercialising the project through his company Bristol NanoDynamics. It promises to be even more of a game-changer in future.
“I have spent the last ten years developing and refining my technology, and now is the time to take this work to the next stage and begin to really revolutionise nanoscale imaging. Working with the Enterprise Hub is the ideal opportunity for me to learn how to do this successfully and ensure it is available to users around the world.”
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.