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.
Material corrosion is a cross-sector problem that costs industry potentially $500 billion globally each year. Current anti-corrosion chemicals contain hexavalent chromate, a highly toxic chemical that will be banned from use in the EU from 2019. The need for alternatives is pressing, and Dr Patrick Dodds, CEO and Founder of Hexigone Inhibitors Ltd, has found a novel solution.
Dr Dodds’ anti-corrosion technology is not simply a chemical, but a system of nano-reservoirs that can be incorporated into coatings such as paint. This technology is activated by the chemicals that cause corrosion, triggering the rapid release of a protective agent and essentially making the coated material self-healing.
The aerospace, automotive and shipping industries are among those currently searching for new anti-corrosion solutions. Dr Dodds’ technology has potential to penetrate the £200 billion-dollar protective coating industry thanks to its speed of action and environmental acceptability. It also aims to match current equivalents on price and the length of its guarantee.
Awards from the Worshipful Company of Armourers & Brasiers, Royal Society and Innovate UK have supported proof of concept and development to date. Dr Dodds is now developing this novel technology in collaboration with Tata Steel to manufacture anti-corrosive paint for metals in Europe. Discussions are progressing with other investors, and there has been interest from several multinationals within the paint industry.
Dr Dodds was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to support him to develop the business. Next steps involve scaling up the manufacturing process and both long-term and accelerated testing.
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.
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.”
CEO and Co-Founder, Brill Power
Smarter battery design can lead to longer-lasting, more reliable performance. Brill Power has achieved this battery control and management technology that extends the life of multi-cell lithium-ion batteries by up to 60%.
Multiple cell lithium-ion batteries areused everyday on a broad scale, from the battery in your laptop to electric cars and grid-scale energy storage. In each case, energy-storage capacity is limited by the weakest cell in a battery pack. Brill Power’s solution improves performance by monitoring individual cells, identifying weak points and making adjustments to regulate the distribution of energy at every charge and discharge. This ensures each cell’s potential is fully achieved, extending battery-life in a safe and reliable way.
Christoph Birkl, CEO, helped develop the technology and now leads Brill Power in developing its commercial applications. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme since 2018, he has participated in training in finance, leadership and management to help the startup to scale. During this time his team has trebled in size to 12 staff, and Brill Power has received government grant funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge, the UK Energy Catalyst programme and Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.
Brill Power is now preparing to launch its first product, a battery management system for small-scale stationary energy storage. The company also plans to launch a pilot for commercial and industrial storage and it has established strategic partnerships to demonstrate the application of the technology in electric vehicles.
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.