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.
Daniel is the inventor of RHEON™ and CTO of RHEON LABS.
RHEON is a revolutionary mouldable material that is capable of absorbing high levels of energy in impact, tension and vibration. It uses a property known as strain-rate dependency to allow this material to be flexible in normal wearing, but to stiffen instantaneously and temporarily when subject to an acute energy input. It can be moulded directly onto clothing, incorporated into the fabric as a thread or coating, or laminated onto a material and is both breathable and washable.
Daniel has worked in the field of energy absorbing systems and their applications for over 15 years, including specialisation work in smart textiles for NASA and sitting on the London 2012 Olympic committee. During his PhD, the fellowship and throughout his work since has built up a significant portfolio of patents which are now being exploited for the sports sector through RHEON LABS Ltd.
The scientists, engineers and designers at RHEON LABS are already engaged with best-in-class brands across a wide spectrum of sports apparel, collaborating with some of the biggest names to integrate RHEON™ into their products to enhance the performance, comfort and protection.
Poised now for rapid growth, Daniel and RHEON LABS are building a team to widen the commercialisation of this exciting technology. Whilst the initial focus is on the sports-apparel sector, there are significant opportunities for applying this potentially life-saving technology in several other sectors such as electronics, healthcare and defence.
“For me, the opportunity to work for an extended period with one product and a single focus is very welcome. The highly relevant and focused mentorship, and the prestige of growing my business under the Academy scheme, is too good an opportunity to ignore.”
Jon has developed software to help drug developers predict the effects of new drugs on auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
His software is capable of integrating far more data and concepts than the systems currently used by drug developers creating clinical trials of new products. The increased data input through Jon's system results in improved confidence in computer simulations, cost savings and quicker speed to market for new drug releases.
Jon is Professor of Intelligent and Adaptive Systems at the University of York, where his research focuses on building computer models of immune function in the human body. He is the founder of SimOmics, a spin out of the University of York, which is expanding on these developments.
Philip is the founder of Synaptec Ltd and is pioneering new photonic sensor and interrogator designs for complex modern energy systems like smart grids.
His technology eliminates the need to duplicate expensive measurement hardware. This is achieved by getting simultaneous measurements of electrical parameters from across the power grid, without bandwidth limitations and with minimal infrastructure.
Synaptec reduces electrical power transmission costs through reducing outages, preventing circuit damage, and minimising civil works. These low-carbon technologies are what will underpin electric power generation and distribution in the future.
He is also working with the industry to improve power system protection capabilities by removing the bottlenecks that often take place with present methods.
“It’s the combination of marketing, networking and training opportunities that makes the Enterprise Hub such a unique opportunity, and it would simply be impossible for me to focus on beginning to commercialise this technology without its support. The opportunities to access potential investors, mentors, and a community of academic entrepreneurial peers will be invaluable.”
Working in tandem with PhD student Robert Rudolf, Reuben developed the first instance of technology that will allow energy consumed by mains connected equipment to be measured without the need for a monitor between the equipment and the wall socket.
The technology uses state of the art sensors with elegant calibration and measurement algorithms.
This resulted in an innovative new device that is a non-invasive multi-core current clamp which can be fitted around a cable and removed with ease. This approach removes the need to access sockets and to power down equipment for the fitting process.
Reuben's spinout company, Joulo, was acquired in 2015 Quby, Europe’s leading develop of smart thermostats and energy displays.
Following the sale of Joulo, Reuben co-founded Future Worlds, an on-campus startup incubator helping aspiring entrepreneurs to change the world with their ideas at the University of Southampton.
“Being involved with the Hub has been extremely useful with its opportunities to network with experienced business owners and entrepreneurs, many of whom have experienced the difficult decisions we are facing numerous times before. There is no question that these opportunities are vital to developing business ideas and raising the profile of our technology.”
Major advances in fabrication techniques now allows the building of new materials and devices on an atomic or molecular scale. These engineered materials can offer great advantages such as increased energy efficiency, strength, antibacterial properties and more. Their potential is vast, and very exciting to a range of industry sectors from medicine to aircraft manufacture.
To use - and continue to advance - the possibilities of these nano-engineered materials requires tools that can efficiently measure and characterise their properties.
Oliver is working to transform high-speed atomic force microscopy (HSAFM) into a diagnostic and fabrication tool to do precisely this.
His work is up to the challenge posed by imaging nano scale structures over sample areas which are industrially relevant. HSAFM is capable of imaging areas several thousand times faster than conventional atomic force microscopy (AFM).
Oliver's research at the University of Bristol will provide a tool to produce terra-pixel sized 3D images of surfaces. It will also be capable of rapidly prototyping nano structures over centimetre-sized areas in a matter of hours.
Mapping, measuring and manufacturing nanostructures via high-speed atomic force microscopy is now a possibility!
Monolith AI Ltd has developed cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) software that allows design and engineering teams to collaborate, analyse and plan products much faster than before. It accelerates product development by applying machine learning to data generated during the engineering design process. Its online platform then helps to simplifies and provides context for the data and predicts future product behaviour.
In addition to making data-science accessible for engineers, Monolith AI has gone further, by developing machine learning algorithms for 3D simulations of complex systems. Combining simulation tools with AI has led to licensing contracts for its software with BMW, BAE Systems, Honda and Siemens. The company’s technology has applications in a variety of fields including automotive, energy, defence and aeronautics.
Dr Richard Alhfeld founded Monolith AI in 2016 and is its CEO. Richard joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and hopes the programme will “help me with my leadership and negotiation skills. I look forward to networking with fellow engineering leaders too.”
Monolith AI is is generating hundreds of thousands of pounds in recurring revenue. The company aims to raise Series A round funding at high valuation in the coming year. It is also rapidly expanding and intends to soon open offices in Germany, Japan and the US.
Ian is the Managing Director of TribeHive, a University of Sussex spin-out focussing on software to overcome the problem of poor smartphone data connectivity in crowded places.
His innovation lets individual smartphone apps crowd-share data bandwidth by building a network directly between the mobile devices. This network is then used as the basis for distributing information.
Using this technology, mobile apps can reliably deliver match-related content and social media feeds to football fans in stadiums.
The system is now in place in a large number of professional football clubs, and the commercial rights in the sports market have now passed on to the company InCrowd Sports. Working with TribeHive, Ian continues to develop other opportunities for the technology.
“The Enterprise Hub has provided me access to very high calibre mentors, who have considerable experience in the field. It is immensely useful to be able to bounce ideas off them, sanity check our plans, and discuss freely with an independent and smart mind how best to move the business forward.”
Developing new medicines takes an average of at least 15 years, costing more than £2 billion from discovery to patient. These efforts are often hindered by not being able to match the right compound to the right disease – 95% of chemical compounds being tested in the lab never make it to patient approval and use.
Micrographia Bio Ltd has built a deep-tech system that uses artificial intelligence to facilitate bio-image analysis. The application of computer-vision machine-learning algorithms enables rapid, scalable development of models and analysis. By combining these algorithms with autonomous microscopy and molecular biology, the total effects of small molecule compounds within human cells can be interrogated.
Dr Julia Fan Li is the Co-Founder and CEO of Micrographia Bio Ltd. Julia is responsible for providing the vision for the company and executing the financing and hiring. She joined the SME Leaders programme in 2021 and hopes the programme will provide her with additional operational knowledge that will help grow the company from seed stage to Series-A funding.
Micrographia Bio’s platform is generating an atlas for modern drug discovery by matching the right compound to the disease it is best suited to cure. Dr Julia Fan Li says “It is Micrographia Bio’s fundamental belief that all diseases deserve a cure.”
Julien has developed a 30-minute test for infections that could revolutionise the detection and treatment of significant diseases.
He is a co-founder of SAW Dx, which has designed a testing procedure that is completely automated and carried out on a low-cost handheld system. Significantly, it can be used to test and identify major diseases (including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and malaria) that require costly lab work and a stressful wait for the patient.
new test system allows the manipulation of microvolumes of
fluids, such as a finger-prick sample of blood.
Designed to be a completely integrated sample-to-answer diagnostic test for patients at the point of care, the technology overcomes the limitations that current solutions have handling complex samples such as blood or saliva.
“The Hub has been very beneficial for my work all round, and I expect to deepen the interactions with my fellow members and continue participating with the targeted workshops and seminars. The original interview process for the ERA award was also valuable, with a significant part of the process devoted not to simply grilling me on my project, but offering very useful advice on the best way forward.”
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.