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.
Since Bethan was 15 she has been fascinated by DNA, "I mean what could be cooler than understanding the code of life?" She wondered. Following her passion took her to University College London and gave her access to machines that could sample DNA - hugely expensive machines that only a few people could ever dream of using.
A college competition entered with friends started her on the road to creating the Bento Lab - a personal DNA lab that costs as much as a laptop and is not much bigger or heavier.
Now field workers can take their own kit with them rather than having to go back to their labs and anyone - not just professionals - with a passion for biology can sample their own genes or see what is in their beer. Or for the very brave, their burgers. Who knows what future Bethans armed with the Bento Lab will discover?
Her company, Bento Bioworks, is making learning and working with molecular biology orders of magnitude more accessible. The toolkit weighs only 3kg, fits on an A4 footprint, and contains all the equipment required to carry out basic research in molecular biology. This has widespread implications for science and engineering education as bento•lab users will be able to engage hands-on with genetic engineering and could potentially contribute to large-scale research projects. They are already taking orders after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
You can watch a video about bento•lab here.
“One of the challenges we all face is thinking that there’s a perfect time to start your own business. The harsh reality is that this mythical moment never arrives. There will always be challenges and excuses to delay making that decision, but at some point you need to get past those mental roadblocks and take the plunge."
in every 300 people worldwide is classified as legally blind. Of these, most (up to 90%) have some remaining sight called residual
vision. This can be limited to an awareness of colour, light, shapes
and motion. Stephen and his team have developed a non-invasive visual
display that can be worn like glasses to enhance the usefulness of
The glasses work by detecting the three dimensional structure of nearby objects and preferentially highlighting the nearest and most important objects, such as people, faces and obstacles.
Traditional assistive technologies for the visually impaired usually involve touch or sound-based devices. Although useful, these older solutions are hard to learn and provide a fairly limited increase in quality of life and independence.
Stephen's company Oxsight (a spin-out of the University of Oxford) is currently refining the prototype into a new lightweight pair of glasses, and a market-ready device is expected soon. It will initially be sold online, and potentially made available on the high street in the future.
Every year an estimated 4.1 million patients in the European Union (EU) are affected by a Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). This is equivalent to one in twenty hospitalised patients, making it one of the most common adverse outcomes for hospital patients.
Dr Felicity de Cogan has engineered a novel protective coating with the ability to kill bacteria on contact. Developed at her University of Birmingham spin-out company, NitroPep, the technology bonds antimicrobial agents to metals and plastics so that bacteria are rapidly killed on contact.
Used in healthcare facilities, the technology has the potential to inhibit the contamination of surfaces, from door-knobs to surgical tables, helping to prevent the 37,000 deaths that are thought to be caused directly by HCAIs in Europe.
Trials have shown that treated metals remain effective in killing over 99% of bacteria for up to 10 years. The technology has been independently verified and has regulatory approval to be sold.
Led by Felicity, an award-winning innovator, NitroPep is already partnering with key companies to sell into the domestic healthcare market. The technology is also attracting interest from a diverse range of sectors, including transport, filtration and air conditioning.
James identified one big problem with offshore wind generation: it costs way too much. If he can solve this, not only will he have a valuable stake in a huge market, he might just save us all.
A major barrier to widespread use of offshore renewable energy is the cost of generation and maintenance. It is estimated that offshore wind infrastructure is approximately 30% more costly than onshore wind and 40% more costly than gas generation.
After working in the wind industry in Germany and Denmark for three years, James started a PhD looking into the cost of wind energy at the University of Strathclyde.
He worked with Professor Bill Leithead on an offshore wind energy concept that aims to reduce the cost of generating energy from offshore wind turbines, making offshore wind more viable.
The resulting X-Rotor offshore wind turbine combines proven wind energy technologies in a manner that has never been done before, in order to save costs in manufacturing and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. It can reduce the cost of energy by approximately 30% in comparison to current offshore wind turbines.
The X-rotor development team is focusing on a proof of concept for the X Rotor Turbine and securing a patent. As soon as development partners are in place, the aim is to have the product to market in the next five years. The long term goal is to secure a 20% share of the new turbine market which is estimated to be 30GW (3,750 8MW turbines) between 2021 and 2023.
Traditional methods for storing and transporting gas require either compression or liquefaction - both of which are energy intensive and costly.
Dr Andrew Marsden founded his company, Immaterial, to commercialise a new technology for gas storage and separation. The technology makes it easy for gas to be stored at lower pressures leading to significant savings in cost.
Every year hundreds of billions of pounds are spent on storing, separating, and transporting gases using traditional technologies. Immaterial’s solution uses porous materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOF) that enable gas to be adsorbed and separated at the molecular level.
While MOFs have been around for many years, they are unusable in their natural, powdered form and it has been a challenge to find ways to use them on an industrial scale. Immaterial’s patented technology shapes MOF into marble-sized pellets, called ‘monoliths’, that can be used on an industrial scale where performance and mechanical stability are critical.
Launched in 2015, Immaterial works with customers to bring its solutions to a range of sectors including in power plants where it can be used as a cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Andrew was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in growing his company, Immaterial.
Mark is interested in all aspects of energy conversion in chemical systems. In the first instance, this means using electrical, photochemical and sonochemical inputs to drive chemical reactions that might not happen otherwise. A cornerstone of his approach is using renewable (or potentially renewable) energy sources to drive unfavourable or slow chemical reactions to deliver fuels and other high-commodity substances.
Mark is the Group Leader of the Symes Group based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where interests lie primarily in energy conversion and small molecule activation.
The Group has developed PROMISE. a revolutionary platform technology with applications in energy storage that combines aspects of redox flow batteries, proton-exchange membrane electrolysers and fuel cells to give a single device that can produce hydrogen or act as a battery depending on the requirements of the user. As renewable power generation grows, grid operators are increasingly looking to adapt to variable generation loads.
The PROMISE breakthrough helps to meet these requirements and allows users to monetise intermittent renewable electricity by either storage and release to the electricity grid, or conversion to hydrogen for off-grid systems.
Nick is developing a pioneering system that combines the wearability and ease-of-use of EEG scanners with the imaging capabilities of MRI to enable mobile imaging of brain activity in real time.
The benchtop version of the technology, using near-infrared light to image the brain, is already selling well. It has many uses such as investigating the development of language in children, monitoring the response to pain in premature babies and discoveries such as that the lack of social awareness in autistic children develops much earlier than once thought.
The new generation of wearable technology will open up whole new fields of neuroscience research and a potential new approach to monitoring long-term neurological conditions.
Nick's company, Gowerlabs, has already developed a series of successful prototypes and has been awarded an Innovate UK Smart grant to commercialise these.
He is also working towards a consumer version of this innovative neuroimaging system that will empower users to monitor their own brain function in any environment using headsets that can capture real-time images.
Bone substitutes are used by dentists when a patient is missing bone or when more is needed for procedures such as implants.
Niall is a post-doctoral researcher at UCL who worked with Dr Alessia D’Onofrio to produce a new bone graft substitute material called Aerograft. It is a synthetic material both cheaper and more effective than existing bone replacements.
huge advantage AeroGraft provides as a bone graft substitute material
is the ability to control the remodelling rate through changes in
composition and density.
This makes it an extremely novel and advantageous material, which will act as a platform to develop innovative bone grafting solutions in dentistry where clinicians are currently being let down by low levels of osseointegration and poor remodelling rates.
It enables the development of a small number of product compositions that have tailored remodelling rates that perfectly meet the demands of dental oral surgeons.
Aerograft could facilitate bone integration in nearly 600,000 dental operations worldwide each year.
Very little innovation has been made in this field over the past five decades, so Aerograft presents a significant and overdue improvement to bone substitutes.
Adar is developing medical devices that offer innovative new treatment for patients recovering from neurological impairment.
His StroMoHab medical device brings together advanced visualisation therapy with body tracking technology. This can potentially transform clinical care and assessment in gait impairing conditions (such as a stroke).
StroMoHab offer patients better results while health care providers see significant cost reductions through earlier discharge. The device is already in clinical evaluation at major medical centres in the UK and US.
Adar is the CEO, principal scientist and co-founder of Asuuta Ltd which is the company developing this and other medical and consumer technology for gait analysis, rehabilitation and training.
“The Hub will continue to be a fantastic way to extend StroMoHab’s success and build upon what my Fellowship has provided. The support from my mentor in particular has been invaluable. He has been very accessible, and using his own experience of entrepreneurship has been able to provide the right kind of advice at the right time.”
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.
David Gammon founded Rockspring in 2002 after 17 years of investment banking experience.
Rockspring provides advice and capital to disruptive technology companies from seed through scale up. His family are the benefactors of the JC Gammon Launchpad Award run by the Enterprise Hub.
David is a non-executive director at Raspberry Pi Trading Limited, Accesso Technology Group plc and Frontier Developments plc.
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.”
Chair of the Enterprise Committee and a long-standing Academy Fellow, Ian 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 currently Managing Director of contract R&D company Arcinova and is also the Managing Partner at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova LLP. 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 illustrious 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 currently 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”.
Dick Whittington is a serial entrepreneur, business mentor and investor, focusing on the software industry and digital marketplaces, with over thirty 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 spinouts through its highly successful Enterprise Hub. From 2015 Dick has been Visiting and Honorary Professor of Business Innovation at the University of York, where he has developed and delivered a respected course in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship for students and staff. He is also an active mentor and angel investor within several London and regional technology accelerator programmes.
Prior to pursuing business interests, Dick lectured in Computer Science at the University of York. He managed a successful research team and published a number of research papers and books, including Database Systems Engineering (1987), which became a standard text within many universities. He also contributed to several significant texts including The Software Life Cycle (1990) and the Software Engineers' Reference Book (1991).
"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.”
Mike is a leading Silicon Fen-based entrepreneur. He is best known as a co-founder of enterprise software company Autonomy and founder of Invoke Capital, which invests in promising British technology businesses.
A celebrated technologist with a proven track record of identifying and monetising fundamental technologies, Mike has been recognised as one Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs in the industry. The Times has referred to Mike as “the closest thing Britain has to its own Bill Gates”.
Mike studied Information Sciences, received a PhD and held a research fellowship in adaptive pattern recognition at Cambridge University. After co-founding Autonomy he served as CEO for over fifteen years, during which time it became one of the UK’s most successful technology companies on the FTSE100. His latest venture Invoke Capital has raised over $1billion since its launch in 2012 and made its first investment in the cyber-security firm Darktrace in 2013 ,now valued at $800m, other investment areas include machine learning to automate legal functions, augmented reality and genomics.
Mike has received a number of prestigious honours throughout his career. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999 by the Confederation of British Industry; presented with an award for Autonomy as a technology pioneer by The World Economic Forum in 2000, and awarded an OBE in 2006 for Services to Enterprise. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2008.
“It’s vital that we encourage and support emerging UK technology businesses, and mentoring programmes are a great way of guiding those with fundamentally clever ideas to fulfil their potential. I’m proud to be a part of the Enterprise Hub, which is helping to ensure the next generation of talent keeps Britain at the forefront of science and innovation.”
Phil is an active Cambridge-based angel investor where he chairs, coaches, invests in and helps communications, software and device companies. He is a frequent speaker on a broad range of entrepreneurial topics and an advisor to universities on the commercialisation of their IP.
In 1999 Phil co-founded the spin-out Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) and as managing director, helped to grow CSR plc from a startup of nine people into a highly successful FTSE 250 listed fabless semiconductor company. In 2003, CSR plc had become the largest global market supplier of Bluetooth chips. By 2015, they had shipped three billion chips, employed more than 2,000 people in 23 locations and was acquired by US-based Qualcomm for $2.5 billion.
Phil has been a research fellow at AERE, a chief research engineer at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, UK Alvey & CEC ESPRIT project manager and a telecoms practice manager at Arthur D Little’s Cambridge Consultants, from which he spun-out CSR plc.
Phil was a recipient of the MacRobert Award in 2005 along with CSR colleagues, for the world's first high-volume single chip Bluetooth device. He was elected as a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow in 2017 and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex.
“I believe that the commercialisation of IP and the engineering of high-volume products is integral to a vibrant and healthy society. The Enterprise Hub has created an effective mechanism for enabling Fellows to become coaches and mentors to the next generation of engineering entrepreneurs and I am honoured to be in a position to help contribute to its success.”
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.”
Nigel’s career has involved working in the UK and the Netherlands for Unilever and Wellcome Research. While abroad, he built and operated the first large-scale Dutch facility for the manufacture of the genetically engineered protein alpha-galactosidase. Later, he led the process design for Wellcome’s WelGen interferon manufacturing plant in the USA.
Nigel has served as a co-founding non-executive director for two manufacturing SMEs, Cobra Biomanufacturing Plc (which was listed on AIM) and Angel Technology Ltd. The latter was awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2006 and the International Sial d’Or prize for the most innovative new UK nutritional product at the Paris International Food Conference 2004. Currently he is Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge University.
Nigel was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2004.
“My relevant technical and personal experience was well-matched to Janice’s needs and I am pleased to be involved in such a positive initiative.”