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.
Oliver has spent over five years as part of a team developing clinical probes that could revolutionise cancer screening. They are committed to enabling on-the-spot cancer diagnosis with minimal discomfort for patients - and without an anxious wait for results.
The group has developed a proprietary method of using small probes using fibre optics to direct laser light onto cells. They then analyse the interaction of this light with the molecules inside. This provides a molecular ‘fingerprint’ to identify different types of cells and any cancerous changes within them.
Using this technique can yield almost instantaneous results and is both faster and more objective than current testing. Traditional testing involves sending tissue that has been surgically removed to a lab to be analysed by a pathologist, a process that is traumatic for the patient and costly for the system.
The new process has been demonstrated to be at least as accurate as conventional gold standard pathology. However it doesn’t require the removal of tissue and allows for the immediate intervention and ongoing monitoring by clinicians.
In future, the technology is seen to have many other clinical applications as well as this humane testing process.
The technique has already undergone extensive tests on human tissue at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with one of the probes set to begin clinical trials within 18 months.
Smell disorders can detrimentally impact a person’s wellbeing. For example, when someone loses their sense of smell it can mean that food loses its flavour or their social interactions are impaired. This is especially relevant among an ageing population.
Current technological solutions to measure and train people’s sense of smell are not standardised or accurate, and are based on manual approaches such as soaked pens and scratch-and-sniff saturated materials. These manual approaches have shortcomings including a lack of control over smell stimuli, consistency of the smell delivery parameters such as intensity and concentration and a lack of comparable digital performance records to determine changes over time.
Dr Emanuela Maggioni and Professor Marianna Obrist are co-founders of OWidgets (Olfactory Widgets). Their company is developing patented digital, personalised, and automated smell training solutions that will enable standardised, comparable, and replicable smell stimuli.
OWidgets is looking to develop opportunities beyond the health and medical sectors. Its technology has been used by a creative studio exploiting multisensory elements to enhance participants’ immersion in a virtual reality project that has been displayed at the World Economic Forum in Davos and has long-term installations in Singapore and New York.
OWidgets is now developing a cloud-based software solution to help with smell training, including digital performance records. Smell disorders are associated with early onsets of degenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Retraining the brain to smell through regular exercises can positively impact cognitive capability and memory. An adaptive hardware system helps training usability and user experience, making it more engaging, and keeping people motivated to do the training regularly.
Dr Maggioni says: “We have partnered with Rockefeller University (SMELL-RS) to create the first automated and standardised smell test toolkit to measure smell capabilities and extending smell training. We aim to integrate the smell training into smell tests, akin to eye tests/hearing tests, as part of routine healthcare checks, promoting a culture of ‘sense of smell care’ and ‘smell physiotherapy’.”
She continues: “The Enterprise Fellowship has been a life-changing experience! The support of the mentors, the Enterprise team, the workshops and networking possibilities have been invaluable and positively impacted the growth and development of OWidgets.”
2017 – OWidgets receives equity-free funding from European Research Council’s Proof-of-Concept programme
2018-19 – OWidgets obtains its first international
clients and early technology adopters in the immersive experience sector
2019 – Dr Emanuela Maggioni was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 – OWidgets Ltd spun out from the University of Sussex
Visit their website: www.owidgets.co.uk
in every 300 people worldwide is classified as legally blind. Of these, most (up to 90%) have some remaining sight called residual
vision. This can be limited to an awareness of colour, light, shapes
and motion. Stephen and his team have developed a non-invasive visual
display that can be worn like glasses to enhance the usefulness of
The glasses work by detecting the three dimensional structure of nearby objects and preferentially highlighting the nearest and most important objects, such as people, faces and obstacles.
Traditional assistive technologies for the visually impaired usually involve touch or sound-based devices. Although useful, these older solutions are hard to learn and provide a fairly limited increase in quality of life and independence.
Stephen's company Oxsight (a spin-out of the University of Oxford) is currently refining the prototype into a new lightweight pair of glasses, and a market-ready device is expected soon. It will initially be sold online, and potentially made available on the high street in the future.
Every year an estimated 4.1 million patients in the European Union (EU) are affected by a Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). This is equivalent to one in twenty hospitalised patients, making it one of the most common adverse outcomes for hospital patients.
Dr Felicity de Cogan has engineered a novel protective coating with the ability to kill bacteria on contact. Developed at her University of Birmingham spin-out company, NitroPep, the technology bonds antimicrobial agents to metals and plastics so that bacteria are rapidly killed on contact.
Used in healthcare facilities, the technology has the potential to inhibit the contamination of surfaces, from door-knobs to surgical tables, helping to prevent the 37,000 deaths that are thought to be caused directly by HCAIs in Europe.
Trials have shown that treated metals remain effective in killing over 99% of bacteria for up to 10 years. The technology has been independently verified and has regulatory approval to be sold.
Led by Felicity, an award-winning innovator, NitroPep is already partnering with key companies to sell into the domestic healthcare market. The technology is also attracting interest from a diverse range of sectors, including transport, filtration and air conditioning.
James identified one big problem with offshore wind generation: it costs way too much. If he can solve this, not only will he have a valuable stake in a huge market, he might just save us all.
A major barrier to widespread use of offshore renewable energy is the cost of generation and maintenance. It is estimated that offshore wind infrastructure is approximately 30% more costly than onshore wind and 40% more costly than gas generation.
After working in the wind industry in Germany and Denmark for three years, James started a PhD looking into the cost of wind energy at the University of Strathclyde.
He worked with Professor Bill Leithead on an offshore wind energy concept that aims to reduce the cost of generating energy from offshore wind turbines, making offshore wind more viable.
The resulting X-Rotor offshore wind turbine combines proven wind energy technologies in a manner that has never been done before, in order to save costs in manufacturing and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. It can reduce the cost of energy by approximately 30% in comparison to current offshore wind turbines.
The X-rotor development team is focusing on a proof of concept for the X Rotor Turbine and securing a patent. As soon as development partners are in place, the aim is to have the product to market in the next five years. The long term goal is to secure a 20% share of the new turbine market which is estimated to be 30GW (3,750 8MW turbines) between 2021 and 2023.
Traditional methods for storing and transporting gas require either compression or liquefaction - both of which are energy intensive and costly.
Dr Andrew Marsden founded his company, Immaterial, to commercialise a new technology for gas storage and separation. The technology makes it easy for gas to be stored at lower pressures leading to significant savings in cost.
Every year hundreds of billions of pounds are spent on storing, separating, and transporting gases using traditional technologies. Immaterial’s solution uses porous materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOF) that enable gas to be adsorbed and separated at the molecular level.
While MOFs have been around for many years, they are unusable in their natural, powdered form and it has been a challenge to find ways to use them on an industrial scale. Immaterial’s patented technology shapes MOF into marble-sized pellets, called ‘monoliths’, that can be used on an industrial scale where performance and mechanical stability are critical.
Launched in 2015, Immaterial works with customers to bring its solutions to a range of sectors including in power plants where it can be used as a cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Andrew was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in growing his company, Immaterial.
Mark is interested in all aspects of energy conversion in chemical systems. In the first instance, this means using electrical, photochemical and sonochemical inputs to drive chemical reactions that might not happen otherwise. A cornerstone of his approach is using renewable (or potentially renewable) energy sources to drive unfavourable or slow chemical reactions to deliver fuels and other high-commodity substances.
Mark is the Group Leader of the Symes Group based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where interests lie primarily in energy conversion and small molecule activation.
The Group has developed PROMISE. a revolutionary platform technology with applications in energy storage that combines aspects of redox flow batteries, proton-exchange membrane electrolysers and fuel cells to give a single device that can produce hydrogen or act as a battery depending on the requirements of the user. As renewable power generation grows, grid operators are increasingly looking to adapt to variable generation loads.
The PROMISE breakthrough helps to meet these requirements and allows users to monetise intermittent renewable electricity by either storage and release to the electricity grid, or conversion to hydrogen for off-grid systems.
Nick is developing a pioneering system that combines the wearability and ease-of-use of EEG scanners with the imaging capabilities of MRI to enable mobile imaging of brain activity in real time.
The benchtop version of the technology, using near-infrared light to image the brain, is already selling well. It has many uses such as investigating the development of language in children, monitoring the response to pain in premature babies and discoveries such as that the lack of social awareness in autistic children develops much earlier than once thought.
The new generation of wearable technology will open up whole new fields of neuroscience research and a potential new approach to monitoring long-term neurological conditions.
Nick's company, Gowerlabs, has already developed a series of successful prototypes and has been awarded an Innovate UK Smart grant to commercialise these.
He is also working towards a consumer version of this innovative neuroimaging system that will empower users to monitor their own brain function in any environment using headsets that can capture real-time images.
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.
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.