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 Thorpe is the Business Development
and Marketing Director at Spiro Control, a company that helps
factories to increase production rates and lower energy costs by using analytics.
Its expertise in advanced process control and optimisation helps manufacturers
turn data into action, using pioneering technology to increase reliability,
energy efficiency and profitability.
Spiro Control has delivered advanced control solutions to clients across the world, in a broad range of industries, including refining, petrochemical, energy, polymer, food processing and mining. Its device captures sensor data and feeds it to embedded data analytics tools, which make it easy to optimise processes by increasing reliability and production rates, reducing equipment damage and improving process stability. In the future, Spiro Control hopes to develop a solution that will work within the Industrial Internet of Things architecture.
Fabiano Mistano is the Chief Automotive Engineer at Onlicar, a fleet management and vehicle monitoring service that uses the expertise of Formula 1 and the aerospace industry to monitor vehicles. Its integrated systems improve performance and save money by combining engineering, software development and simulation.
The system uses a data analytics platform that is powered by artificial intelligence and connected car technology such as dongles and smartphone apps. It can use vehicle engine information to digitally diagnose and provide a health score for vehicles. Onlicar fleet management products range from tracking of small fleets to automated decision-making for those with more than 500 vehicles. The technology is encrypted and customisable.
Gregory Francis is the Financial Director of BOXARR, a company that uses software to map complex interdependent systems and processes at a vast scale. It helps companies to optimise their operational performance and manage risk by bringing business processes into one place.
Its software is based on the ‘boxes and arrows’ concept, and solves the challenges of complexity across data intelligence aggregation, systems design and engineering, supply chain, process management, programme planning and execution, and joint operations methodology, by highlighting hidden risks and opportunities. Currently, the software is primarily used by the defence and aerospace industries, but the company hopes to diversify into a variety of industries.
Managing Director, REACT Engineering
REACT Engineering is developing innovative engineering approaches to reduce the impact of nuclear waste on the environment. Through specialist engineering consultancy and project management services, REACT Engineering develops solutions that address the challenges faced by the UK nuclear industry, including decommissioning and waste management.
The company has benefitted from the support of the SME Leaders Programme through training and workshops for its leadership team, including Paul Botterill (Director) and Phil Redfern (Managing Director).
SME Leader, Phil Redfern has used the programme’s training and networking to create space for strategic thinking and shape the future direction of the business. Since receiving the award in 2016, he has helped the company to successfully establish trusted partnerships and grow its client base both in the civil and nuclear defence markets.
Following a management buy-out in 2019, Phil Redfern now has a majority shareholding in the company. His goals for the company’s future include growing and diversifying its client base while taking a customer-focused approach to creating long-term, sustainable solutions for nuclear clean-up.
When a manufacturer, for example a car maker, wants a new component made, it will go to a supplier with its specifications. To make this new item, the supplier needs material multi-axial property data to predict its materials’ response in the manufacturing process. Existing testing methods cannot supply such data across all possible temperature and stress states.
To solve this issue, Dr Zhutao Shao and his colleagues from Imperial College London have developed and patented the world’s first high-temperature multi-axial material testing system. This patented testing process involves stretching a piece of material from multiple directions and under different service conditions until it fractures. Customers are then given the data and can use it to optimise their material’s structure.
Most existing systems use room temperature for testing and some may go up to 300° to 500°C. Dr Shao’s innovation can go over 1,000°C when needed. This option is important when judging how a material will behave under various stress states during the hot stamping manufacturing process. His multi-axial testing also undertakes fatigue, tension and compression testing of materials within a wide range of temperatures. The suite of checks are labelled ‘hot multi-axial tests’.
Multi-X Solutions already collaborates with car component suppliers for lightweight structural design and production of vehicles and will start trial sales in 2020. The company currently has one service and two products open to the transportation industry. Multi-X Solutions also has a materials database that will be added to as the company conducts tests on more engineering materials and structures.
The market that Multi-X are working in stands at £850 million worldwide and is rapidly expanding. The company is now looking to further develop and standardise the cost-effective testing methods for the data-driven advanced manufacturing industry.
2018 Awarded Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Impact Acceleration Account funding
2018 Awarded title of the Most Valuable Project in Tencent Auto Open Platform Competition
2019 Dr Zhutao Shao was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 Accepted onto Imperial Techcelerate Programme
Phil Horton is the managing director of Dulas Ltd, an international worker-owned co-operative in the field of renewable energy. The company has been providing renewable energy installations for 30 years. The company started by installing solar power in Kenya in 1984, followed by solar powered blood banks in Sudan, pioneering innovative uses of renewable energy.
Dulas develops and delivers renewable energy solutions to a range of clients, including businesses, charities and landowners. In the UK, Dulas is currently working on wind, solar and hydro projects, including installing wind monitoring instruments for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm, while overseas it is mainly focused on its work on solar powered vaccine fridges.
In the UK, 16 million homes built before 1960 have air-bricks installed to ventilate underfloor and indoor areas to prevent condensation. However, research has shown that vents left continuously open can lead to homes losing a considerable amount of heat. AirEx has developed a smart ventilation control that can be installed in place of the air-brick. Its sensors measure temperature, humidity and air quality while its algorithms enable automatic air flow regulation, while taking into account local weather and air quality data. AirEx opens to reduce underfloor humidity, and closes to reduce heat loss. The resulting flexibility in airflow can amount to a 10% to 15% reduction in energy bills.
Agnes Czako is Co-Founder and Managing Director of AirEx. Agnes joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020. She says: “Gaining new knowledge and tapping into a fantastic network of peers are two of the key elements for me. I think a course focusing on transformational leadership and leadership in a technology-driven world will be invaluable for me and the company.”
AirEx has received Ofgem approval and has market traction. The company is now aiming to rapidly scale up its business, hoping to be deployed in thousands of UK homes and across Europe where it’s estimated there are a further 35 million houses with old-fashioned air-bricks.
Founder and CEO, Lightpoint Medical
Lightpoint Medical has developed a novel imaging device to improve success in cancer surgery by helping surgeons to remove cancerous tissue, while leaving healthy tissue intact.
The groundbreaking device brings real-time molecular imaging to the operating room, improving health outcomes for cancer patients. The technology is based on the use of Cerenkov luminescence imaging. Dr David Tuch, CEO and Founder, recognised this would have significant diagnostic potential when combined with imaging techniques that observe metabolic processes.
As an intraoperative device, it can be used to guide surgeons so that they can avoid leaving behind microscopic cancerous cells, increasing the likelihood that all target tissue is removed in one surgery. This would prevent patients needing repeat surgeries and minimise any delays to follow-on treatments.
The device can also reduce healthcare costs by making both surgery and follow-on treatment more efficient.
Support from the SME Leaders Programme has allowed David to strengthen skills in strategic marketing and competitive strategy through bespoke training. Since receiving the award in 2017, David’s team has doubled in size to 22 employees. Lightpoint Medical has also raised approximately £4 million in grant funding from organisations in the UK and US and successfully closed a £5 million Series B fundraising round in 2018.
Lightpoint Medical is now working on clinical validation and early commercialisation of its first robotic probe for cancer surgery.
Terrabotics uses powerful algorithmic engines to turn large volumes of satellite imagery into practical 3D maps for industries in the natural resources and energy sectors.
The company uses automated data analysis to rapidly create accurate, high-resolution, 3D digital maps with detailed geospatial information. These comprehensive insights help companies to visualise risks and make smarter decisions. They are designed to support industries that frequently navigate hostile, hazardous areas to improve safety and help them work more efficiently.
Terrabotics’ solutions are used by a growing list of high-profile clients that includes BP, De Beers Group, ExxonMobil and Shell. It plans to further develop its client base through the launch of new products for the oil and gas, mining and metals sectors. In 2018, Terrabotics was awarded a £435,000 contract from the European Space Agency and UK Space to develop Energy SCOUT™, a new solution for oil and gas supply chain monitoring from space.
Gareth Morgan, CEO and Founder, draws on expertise as a scientist and engineer to take a hands-on approach to leadership and strategy development. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme since 2017, Gareth Morgan has participated in training in leadership and business growth. During that time, his team has grown by four staff and there are plans for it to double in size to support Terrabotics’ next phase of growth.
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.
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.
Professor Clive Buckberry FREng is the Chief Engineer and Technology Officer of Quanta Dialysis Technologies, a company that provides dialysis systems for renal patients. He has been in the role since Quanta was established in 2008, was a co-founder and has been an integral part of the original team that has since raised over £110 million in venture capital funding following its launch.
Clive has a broad remit to direct and influence technology development and its implementation within Quanta. He has also had direct responsibility for the clinical evaluation and regulatory strategy of the haemodialysis machine, and the engineering development of the extracorporeal pathway and currently leads a team of over 50 engineers.
Previously Clive worked for the BMW group with responsibility for the vehicle physics department. In 2001, he became an honorary professor within the Department of Engineering and Physics at Heriot-Watt University and in 2011 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.