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.
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.”
Dr Kai Yang has developed an everyday fabric-based electrode for wearable medical devices so that stroke sufferers and people in need of pain relief can get electrical stimulation treatment in a far more practical way than ever before.
Traditional electrodes (made from hydrogel) are not ideal for wearable applications as they are sticky, have a limited lifetime, need to be kept in a sealed bag to stop moisture evaporation, and are incompatible with clothing.
Dr Kai Yang's fabric electrode can be applied on the skin directly without using any gel. Everyday fabrics and clothing items such as an arm band or sleeve can have the electrodes added to suit various needs. The fabric-based electrode is comfortable to wear, easy to use, washable and unobtrusive.
The fabric electrode can be used to deliver Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for stroke rehabilitation; TENS for pain relief (e.g. arthritis, back pain, neck pain) and health monitoring (e.g. ECG, EEG, EMG).
As a Principal Investigator, Kai has secured £1.1M research funding from the Medical Research Council for a multi-disciplinary team to develop a wearable FES training system for home based stroke rehabilitation using the fabric electrode together with advanced control and sensor technologies. The FES training system will enable stroke survivors to conduct rehabilitation activities without the need of a carer or therapist.
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.