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.
Managing Director, Ludwick Precision
Metal fabrication for applications such as laboratory benches and office furniture requires expertise in materials, as well as finely-tuned engineering processes. Ludwick Precision is a specialist in this area, leading fabrication of high-end, bespoke sheet, box and tubular metal solutions.
For 25 years, the Hertfordshire-based company has built up a significant reputation in the design and manufacture of engineered products to meet customers’ bespoke requirements.
Ludwick Precision is a fully integrated manufacturing consultancy, from design and prototyping, to assembly and installation, clients are supported at every stage in the process. This has enabled the company to develop several long-term customer partnerships by consistently delivering projects on time and within budget. Ludwick Precision’s extensive work in the pharmaceutical sector, for example, includes the development and manufacture of the first height-adjustable laboratory bench to be built in the UK.
Ryian Ludwick, Managing Director, has used SME Leaders Programme training to support the business through an expansion programme and his team has grown to 20 people since receiving the award in 2017. In 2019/20, Ryian purchased the company from its main shareholder and he has developed a strategy for Ludwick Precision’s continued growth which includes a focus on the demands of existing customers, and exploring the potential to make products applicable to other niche market sectors.
CEO, Oxford nanoSystems
From air-conditioning units to big data computing, heat-transfer components play a fundamental role in a range of technologies. Oxford nanoSystems is revolutionising the manufacture of these components with a novel coating technology that substantially improves materials’ heat transfer capabilities. This enables the development of lighter products at a reduced cost.
The coating facilitates the production of heat-transfer components that are more efficient and consume less energy thereby improving their environmental sustainability. The flexible coating can be customised and incorporated into existing manufacturing processes, or applied to components after manufacturing.
Before completing his PhD, Alexander Reip was invited to bring his expertise in nanomaterials to Oxford nanoSystems. The company at that point was a new startup and he played a principal role in developing its groundbreaking coating.
Dr Reip is now CEO of the company and leads a team that is dedicated to implementing its product more widely. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme since 2017, Alexander has grown the team from three to 17 staff.
Training in management and leadership has helped Dr Reip to strengthen his entrepreneurial skills and develop a strategy for growth. Oxford nanoSystems has now raised over £2 million in equity funding and over £1.5 million in grant funding. It is now preparing to install its first production plant with a view to accessing new markets that will benefit from improved cooling systems, including the large and growing electronics sector.
GreenSpur Wind has developed a generator that could further reduce the cost of wind energy, making this renewable energy source more cost effective, efficient and sustainable. Many existing machines use scarce and expensive rare earth magnets, which are sourced almost exclusively from China. In contrast, GreenSpur’s patented design makes use of ferrite – an abundant, cheaper alternative type of magnet, which will accelerate deployment. Its low-cost generator can concentrate flux and maximise energy generation, making it the first company to develop a credible option using ferrite magnets for large-scale turbines.
Andrew Hine joined the SME Leaders programme in 2017 when Innovate UK had awarded the company a £1.25 million grant to build a single stage 250kW generator, part of a four-stage 1MW design. This was completed in 2019. A feasibility study is now being undertaken, which will demonstrate how the modular GreenSpur design is capable of being scaled to deliver 15MW-plus configurations.
Now, GreenSpur Wind is working on grant applications and funding that could release millions for further product development. Further investment would allow the company to form an R&D design and development team. The company is also looking for a co-development partner to bring its technology and multi-MW generators to the global wind turbine market.
“The programme has enabled us to transition the business towards an applied engineering strategy. I found the mentoring, both formal and informal, a great support during this transition phase. The networking opportunities provided by the Enterprise Hub were also useful and enabled me to obtain a level of engineering support and advice that had previously been very difficult to access.”
A desire to help create sustainable and resilient cities led Arthur Kay to develop bio-bean, the first company to industrialise the recycling process for spent coffee grounds and transform them into advanced biofuels and biochemicals.
With over 500,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds going to waste in the UK every year, Arthur recognised them as a valuable, and abundant, resource. They are highly calorific and packed with the right compounds to be a source of sustainable energy.
The company slots neatly into pre-existing waste and energy processes, and works closely with waste-management companies to get spent coffee grounds to their large-scale recycling factory. As a result, the award-winning clean technology company already collects thousands of tonnes yearly from offices, transport hubs and coffee shops, including Costa Coffee.
The used coffee grounds are then transformed into sustainable, high-performance products, such as biomass pellets for heating buildings, and the company’s first consumer product ‘Coffee Logs’ for use at home in stoves and fires.
Rapid growth has enabled the company to build its capacity to recycle up to 50,000 tonnes of used coffee grounds each year, which has significantly reduced the amount that ends up in landfill. By engaging in extensive research, bio-bean now plans to expand its range of advanced carbon-neutral biofuels and biochemicals for commercial use.
Contemporary architectural design requires smarter, more flexible materials to help buildings meet their environmental targets. Flexible plastic displays could provide a sustainable option for optimising indoor environments but only if they can be easily manufactured for use in materials such as glass.
Dr Chris Williamson, founded the start-up Flexypix to unlock the potential of flexible plastic displays that can be integrated into glass. His technology can be used to create windows that quickly switch from transparent to opaque, providing privacy or reflecting unwanted heat while consuming no continuous power.
Made using a liquid crystal-based material, Flexypix displays can rapidly switch and adapt on demand, within seconds.
These ultra-thin, plastic panels can also be seamlessly retro-fitted to existing surfaces, or integrated within materials such as glass during manufacture.
As CEO, Chris Williamson brings extensive experience in engineering smart tools and material for construction. He leads Flexypix in developing continuous mass-production processes so that the company can target the global commercial indoor window market, which was valued at $30 billion in 2015.
Chris was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to spin out his business, continue testing and upscale the manufacturing process.
Despite being the most abundant form of renewable energy, solar energy does not have as high an international adoption rate as it could have.
The solar panels currently used to capture the sun’s energy are inefficient, cannot be bent or fabricated into custom shapes and have complicated disposal options at the end of life. That means that today’s panels are unable to make use of irregular spaces where the sun shines, especially in urban areas.
Dr Leonard Ng Wei Tat is the founder of DaVinci Future Technologies Ltd. He is also the inventor of the underlying patented system that enables nano-plated dispersions that allow solar panels to be printed using conventional printing machines.
Dr Ng Wei Tat’s technology will permit solar cells to be manufactured using standard industrial roll-to-roll printing at low cost and in large volumes. Solar cells processed in this way are flexible and can take on bespoke shapes and forms. The resulting photovoltaics are also more easily disposable at end of life.
Dr Ng Wei Tat says: “Although the growth of photovoltaics has been accelerating through the years, the average penetration of solar energy per country is only 2.5%. Our technology hopes to improve on this number. By mid-2020 we will have identified the markets we can be involved with and make an impact.”
He had originally proposed to use his innovation for another renewable energy use and says: “The Enterprise Fellowship enabled me to explore the market for my initial idea and then allowed me to effect a pivot from that original business concept. This acceleration of learning has put into perspective what is important about building a deep tech business and enabled me to find a new market.”
pre-seed funding from Cambridge Enterprise
2019 Dr Leonard Ng Wei Tat was Awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 Patent awarded for innovation (WO2017013263A1)
2019 DaVinci Future Technologies Ltd registered with Companies House
The morphology of hair is determined by the shape of the follicle. The curved follicle of afro hair result in strands with ellipsoidal cross section and tightly curled hair. This structure hinders the ability of scalp oil to travel along the hair strand, which makes it drier than Caucasian and Asian hair. As such afro hair requires regular moisturising and less washing. However, due to its structure it tangles easily making its manipulation painful and time consuming. Applying conditioner and detangling can take up to 50 minutes, which can be particularly stressful for mothers with young girls.
For centuries, this pain, the lack of representation of Black women and the stigma around afro hair placed a pressure on Black women to conform to European standards of beauty. Many chemically straighten their hair to fit the Eurocentric definition of beauty. In the 2000s, the natural hair movement empowered Black women across the globe to embark on a self-love and self-discovery journey. Many are giving up relaxers and are learning to care for their hair, but the challenges in caring for the afro hair remain.
Myana Naturals has developed a device for application of treatments such as conditioners. It is optimised for afro hair and aims to reduce the time and the pain experienced when caring for tightly curled hair. Its mission is to support Black women in their journey by reducing pain, making every haircare day a celebration of their beauty.
The natural hair movement has created a significant shift in the hair care market, with a decrease in chemical relaxer sales and an increase in products to care for natural hair. In a survey of more than 300 women with afro hair, 70% said they take more than 20 minutes to apply a conditioner. In the US, the market for shampoo and conditioner for tightly curled hair is worth $1 billion. The demand for styling tools targeted for use with afro hair increased from 220 million in 2013 to 268 million units sold in 2018.
Next, Myana Naturals will engage with women with afro hair to finalise the design, understand their hair care needs, consumer habits and the best way to communicate with them. This is essential in defining the brand personality and communication style. In 18 months, it hopes to successfully raise funds and launch the applicator in the UK, reaching a position to enter the US market.
“I am mindful that this will be my first leadership role. This fellowship offers the right training and support to help me define my leadership style, and the value of the business, both will be essential in creating a company with a healthy and inclusive environment to attract and retain competent employees. I am also looking forward to improving my understanding of finance and marketing.”
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) is a debilitating lung disease that affects 1.2 million in the UK. Nearly two thirds of cases are thought to be undiagnosed and new methods are needed to improve both diagnostics and treatment.
InspiWave is a non-invasive monitoring device developed by medical innovator Dr Phi Anh Phan, along with Professor Andrew Farmery at the University of Oxford. With its ability to both monitor lung function and pulmonary blood flow, InspiWave has the potential to improve COPD diagnosis rates and allow for more efficient bedside monitoring throughout the treatment pathway.
InspiWave aims to improve patient’s comfort and experience by providing real-time bedside monitoring information in a non-invasive way. It can be used to support patients with a variety of lung conditions, such as intensive care patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
Real-time monitoring ensures that clinician have the information needed to deliver the right treatment at the right time. The technology also provides vital information to improve fluid management for patients undergoing high-risk surgeries.
Medical trials are underway to demonstrate InspiWave’s effectiveness in a range of treatment scenarios, and help with targeting this device for use within the NHS.
Phi was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Hub Fellowship to develop InspiWave, and launch his start-up, Intelligent RespiLabs.
All sports fans will ask the question: if you can’t be at the game, what is the next best thing? Rob Oldfield, Co-Founder of Salsa Sound, has developed a next-generation sound production tool that transforms what viewers hear and creates a more engaging viewing experience for live broadcast sport.
The Salsa Sound system exploits emerging developments in object-based audio to generate improvements in sound production. Initially developed for football, its intelligent tracking system allows each kick, header and blow of the referee’s whistle to be captured, wherever they happen on the pitch. By using algorithms for sound recognition, Salsa instantaneously brings a sharper focus to the sounds that matter. This gives viewers a more immersive and engaging sound experience, regardless of the device they are watching it on.
The advantages are not just for viewers. Salsa replaces broadcasters’ need for labour-intensive manual mixing, simplifying the process with algorithms for real-time sound location and mixing. It can also remove unwanted sounds, such as swearing or inappropriate crowd noises.
With no direct competitors, Salsa is well situated to bring its transformative techniques to the high-value sports broadcasting market, which continually invests in improving sports coverage. Working prototypes have already captured the interest of large broadcasting companies and there are plans to adapt it for other sports in the future.
Rob was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to help develop his business plan and launch his startup company Salsa Sound.
“The Enterprise Hub has stewarded the growth of my startup, particularly helping me to develop my business strategy. It really understands the challenges for an academic starting a business.”
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.
Dr Robert Sansom FREng is an experienced angel investor and mentor to technology-based startup businesses in the UK and US.
He is the founder of the Cambridge Angels, a group of expert technology and biotechnology entrepreneurs who invest in and mentor technology startups across the UK.
Robert serves on the board of several startups including Arachnys Information Services, Cambridge Communication Systems, CRFS, Featurespace, IQGeo plc, Myrtle Software, and Netronome Systems. Prior to becoming an angel investor, he co-founded FORE Systems, a leader in high-speed data communications, where he was Chief Technical Officer. Fore Systems went public on NASDAQ in 1994 and was sold to Marconi plc in 1999.
Robert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010.
“Through my career I’ve built up considerable experience taking knowledge-based technology business from initial idea through to becoming successful businesses. I’d like to help a new generation of technology entrepreneurs do the same, and the Enterprise Hub is an excellent platform for me to do this.”
Steve is a leading expert with over 35 years of experience.in the fields of semiconductor device research, nanotechnology and millimetre-wave integrated circuit design.
After founding and leading the Nanoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, he co-founded and became Technical Director of Intellemetrics Ltd. His enterprising spirit continued with the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd in 2001.
Steve became Vice-Principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow in 2005 where e is responsible for the University’s research strategy and policies. These includes key relations with research sponsors and strategic partners. He also heads up the University’s enterprise activities which has a strong focus on research links with industry and the promotion of spinout companies.
Steve was awarded an OBE for services to the field of nanotechnology in the 2002 Jubilee Honours List and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.
“Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and engineering requires a genuine link up and sharing of knowledge between research partners and industry. The Enterprise Hub is a key part of this, sharing enterprising expertise with individuals who have an incredible amount of technical talent, and providing the links to springboard their success in the industry.”
Paul Excell is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor and global executive leader with an impressive track record of delivering growth and transformation in startups, scale-ups, global corporates and is passionate about social mobility. He is Chief Operating Officer and Non-Executive Director at ScaleUp Group™️, providing tech scaleups with unique insights from successful entrepreneurs with over $4 billion in exits plus patient equity/debt growth funding (£2 million to £20 million). He has six tech clients in the growth portfolio, and his clients have raised £30 million to date.
In addition to this, Paul is Co-Founder and Chair of Global iLabs, Founder and CEO of Excelerate™️ and Non-Executive Director with Knowledge Gateway (University of Essex). He acts as a judge and mentor for the UK Enterprise Awards and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Launchpad Innovation Award and SME Leaders.
Paul was previously Chief Customer Innovation Officer, Chief Operating Officer/Group Technology Officer, SVP[PS1] Global at BT, Chair/member of several business Boards (UK and Spain, Nordics, AsiaPac) and sat on BT Group Board committees on Technology, Risk and Diversity. He was an Engineering Council Board member and acted as advisor to UN Secretary General on sustainability, technology and innovation.
He started his career as an apprentice and is now a chartered engineer (CEng), Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), the Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS) and Court Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
Suranga has long experience as an engineer and entrepreneur. He founded Blinkx - an intelligent search engine for video and audio content - in 2004. He led Blinkx as CEO for eight years as well as taking it public in 2007. He is widely regarded as an expert on the convergence of the web, television and online advertising.
Before his work with Blinkx, Suranga was US Chief Technology Officer of Autonomy where he was mentored by Mike Lynch and led the effort to enable Autonomy’s software to work in highly distributed environments. Suranga joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2014.
An accomplished speaker and commentator on the overlap between technology and media, Suranga has been elected by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders. He was also included in the Top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was a recipient of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2012. Suranga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.
“The real high-growth value companies are currently all in the tech space. In order for these businesses to reach their potential, it’s vital that they can benefit from the guidance of those with experience.”
Anne is a prominent venture capitalist and European technology investor who has been Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners from 1997. As a co-founder in the organisation, Anne’s role combines her experience as a scientist, operating manager and venture capitalist.
Anne began her career in manufacturing with Cummins Engine Company before moving into investment as a business angel. She was also Chief Operating Officer of Virtuality Group, which had been one of her investee companies.
Anne has held a number of high profile advisory positions, having served as Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association in 2004, and as a non-executive director of the UK Technology Strategy Board from 2005-2012. In 2008 Anne led the establishment of the Glover advisory committee for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reporting on government procurement from SMEs. She is also a member of the European Research and Innovation Advisory Board. Anne was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006 and was elected an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008.
“There is a long-standing need for science to engage more proactively with policy-makers and business. The Enterprise Hub is playing a big part in addressing this, by bridging the gap between outstanding academic talent and influential figures in the industry to ensure the UK’s ongoing international success in science and technology.”
John is a highly experienced executive and senior consultant across the oil and gas, renewable energy and digital technology sectors, as well as a member of many international boards. He has significant interest in the commercial and technology challenges that energy transition presents, especially as these intersect with corporations’ digital transformation.
John is currently Chair of the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund Board, which specialises in the commercialisation of grid-level storage investments. The company is now the largest energy storage fund in the UK and is the market leader. In November 2018, the company listed on LSE at £100 million and at the end of 2020 had a market cap of around £250 million; it is on a strong growth trajectory and should double in size over the next 24 months.
Until April 2019, John was an advisor to the Board of ACWA Power International (Riyadh), the largest independent power producer in Saudi Arabia. Until December 2017, he was on the Board of the ASX-listed Carnegie Clean Energy, based in Perth, WA. He is also an investor and Board member of Global Integrity, a cybersecurity software and cyber consultancy firm based in Washington DC.
John spent more than 25 years working at BP, the last 10 of which were spent at the corporate executive level in various roles including:
In his early career, John worked on the design and construction of nuclear power generation plants in UK.
Since leaving BP, John has been active as a senior advisor to blue chip global consultants specialising in the energy sector, energy transition and corporate digital transformation.
John serves on the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Committee.
Professor 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.”
Professor Neville Jackson FREng has spent nearly 40 years in industrial R&D, primarily in transport and energy systems. He has experience in managing complex R&D portfolios and spinning out new technologies into commercially funded startups.
He currently chairs both the RAC Foundation and the Institute of Digital Engineering Advisory Board and is also a non-executive director of the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre. He also chairs the Royal Academy of Engineering’s steering group for the Increasing engineering business R&D investment project. He has been a member of the UK Automotive Council since it was formed and is a member of the Strategy Team, chairing the R&D/Horizon Scanning working group.
From 2009 until 2019 he was Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Ricardo plc. He has co-ordinated and authored a wide range of technology roadmaps at national and European level, defining the potential, and technology pathways for transport energy, propulsion systems, future vehicle electrical/electronic architectures and digitalisation/virtual product development.
A graduate of Imperial College London, he is also a visiting professor at the University of Brighton. His past roles have included Chairman of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a six-year term as a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network, Vice Chair of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and a member of the Industry Delegation for the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI). He is also a Fellow of the US SAE and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
Saeed is Technical Director at the prosthetic manufacturer Blatchford, winners of the 2016 RAEng MacRobert Award.
He has built a highly successful career based on outstanding innovation, product development and scientific research in the field of prosthetics. His work saw the company shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award in 2010.
Saeed has provided invaluable advice to emerging innovators in his field, such as negotiating with investors, creating new business cases and establishing alternative investment return strategies, IP issues, and how to identify new needs and opportunities in the market to develop a road map of future products.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.