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.
Electroplated coatings can become tarnished if exposed to corrosive environments.
Alex Nielsen has developed an electroplating additive that adds value to the metal coating by enhancing resistance to corrosion and tarnish.
Copper is naturally anti-microbial and anti-viral, but uncoated it readily corrodes, creating a maintenance problem for the end user. Armadillo Metal Coatings is currently testing the technical and commercial feasibility of its anti-tarnishing technology with copper electroplated coatings for door furnishings with a pair of world-leading industrial partners.
The door furnishing market is forecast to generate around £500 million in revenues in 2020, with demand for copper and brasses growing. This trend should accelerate due to COVID-19, as surfaces that can prevent the transmission of viruses and microbes become more sought after in hospitals, public areas and offices.
May 2020 - Closed first round of VC funding
August 2020 - Received £2,000 from Swansea University for project work to combat COVID-19.
“The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship programme have provided very good advice on Venture Capital, grant funding and recruitment. The courses have been very useful, specifically sales and marketing. The award has also allowed our company to use university facilities during lockdown meaning technical development has progressed.”
The likelihood of patient recovery decreases with delayed ophthalmic disease detection.
Aston Vision Science’s unique, patent pending illumination system allows for low cost, all-in-one ocular diagnostics that provide fast results. Because the system is portable, it can reach patients that are currently left behind, including everyone from older people in the UK with mobility issues through to remote communities is developing nations. Aston Vision Science will have its first commercial unit assembled and ready to demonstrate in mid-2021.
Due to the low cost, high accuracy and portable nature of its instrument, it will be valuable around the world. The largest ophthalmic instrument markets were North America ($831.8 million) and Europe ($526.7 million), however a fast growing market is emerging in the Asia-Pacific region ($482.8 million).
In 2016, China had the highest global rate of dry eye syndrome with 200 million cases and in some studies, up to 21% of adults suffering. In China, 80% of its blind population lives in rural areas, yet 75% of their 28,000 eye doctors work in cities. Patients must travel far before they are able to get the care they need, with similar patterns repeated around the world. Aston Vision Science's goal is to provide quality eye care, everywhere.
April 2018 - Patent application filed
May 2018 - Icure Placement
July 2018 - Aston Vision Sciences incorporated
June 2019 - MICRA funding awarded
July 2019 - Innovate UK Smart awarded
Jan 2020 - Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship Awardee
2020 - Seed funding
July 2020 - Innovate UK COVID-19 Continuity Grant awarded
August 2020 - three full-time and two part-time employees
“The programme has been great in helping me transition from an engineer into an entrepreneur. I have gained much insight into the detailed workings of successful early stage companies and learned many details to help to ensure the company is setup correctly and is attractive to investors.”
If disease evolution could be predicted, treatment cycles could be altered to improve care for patients.
WarnerPatch is a medical device that predicts disease evolution to enable clinicians to give preventive care. Particularly focusing on peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), which includes diabetic foot and wound care, WarnerPatch reduces the treatment cycle by improving patient management for healthcare providers.
WarnerPatch comes as a non-invasive, wearable wireless (using 2G network) sensor that continuously measures disease symptoms. Using AI, prediction on future disease evolution is given, with notifications if symptoms get worse. Clinicians can access the results in real-time and be notified when a patient becomes high risk.
WarnerPatch aims to help clinicians augment their understanding of disease progression, to improve patient outlook and outcomes, and reduce related care cost.
In the UK, there are about 5,000 unnecessary amputations carried out annually on PVD patients due to poor patient management and long treatment cycles. 50% of these patients die within two years. It costs the NHS £1.4 billion a year to treat PVD patients and indirectly, a further £1 million per amputee. WarnerPatch aims to reduce these numbers to zero.
Manufacturing shop floors are complex and variable environments that make producing components on time, on cost and at the right quality a daily battle. Businesses often lack visibility into shop floor processes, leading many to see high-value manufacturing as somewhat of a dark art.
In the high-value manufacturing sector, the average utilisation of a machine is less than 30%. Despite costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, these machines spend over two thirds of their lifetime in an idle state.
In Yorkshire there is a saying “If it ain’t cutting metal, it ain’t making money” and a lot of manufacturers are losing out due to poor machine performance. This decreases their return on investment, creates higher production costs and ultimately leads to less successful manufacturing in the UK. Even just a 10% increase in productivity would be revolutionary and allow manufacturers to make more with the resources they already have – restoring manufacturing back to its place at the heart of the economy in the UK and beyond.
ForJaw has worked with two tech companies in its hometown of Sheffield to create its technology: The Curve, who helped increase the capabilities of its data analysis platform and web application; and Razor, Microsoft experts who created a secure, scalable and flexible pipeline for extracting data from machines on the shop floor and sending it up to FourJaw’s cloud platform.
FourJaw’s roots are in the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), where the team met and the initial technologies were developed. Using the engineering pedigree available at the AMRC, FourJaw has built a deep understanding of manufacturing operations.
“Quite simply, FourJaw would not be where it is today without the Enterprise Fellowship. The blend of mentoring, training, coaching and funding has accelerated our business growth and helped us navigate the difficult first phase of our business. The doors opened by the Enterprise Fellowship to contacts and connections have also been a key resource we’ve benefitted from.”
August 2020 – FourJaw kicked off a case study with Microsoft to demonstrate Azure (the FourJaw cloud platform of choice) in manufacturing
September 2020 – FourJaw featured on the front pages of MTDCNC magazine
There are 70 million people who require prosthetic limbs around the world. Sadly, limb loss is up to 100 times more common in low-resource regions of the world. Current prostheses are rigid, uncomfortable, over-engineered and prohibitively expensive – up to tens of £1000s per device. Because of this, 90% of people with limb differences have no access to prostheses at all.
Ben Lakey is the Co-Founder of Mitt Wearables. Mitt has developed easy-to-use, comfortable prosthetic limbs that are drastically more affordable than any other solutions.
Instead of having rigid sockets that clinicians must specially fit to users, Mitt’s prosthetic limbs have an adjustable interface that users can fit themselves, which makes them light, breathable and much more comfortable. They are developing a growing range of task-specific tools that clip in and out of the prosthesis – for holding a pen, a kitchen knife, a table tennis bat or anything else the user needs.
Ben’s interest in prosthetics stemmed from a personal experience, after his sister had a traumatic foot injury seven years ago that eventually led to a below-knee amputation. He saw first-hand the difficulties she experienced with rehabilitation and trying to get prosthetics fitted correctly.
With an affordable price point, and a device that can be fitted by users themselves without medical intervention, Mitt can provide prosthetics direct to the users and communities that need them, no matter how isolated from medical infrastructure. Mitt aims to remove barriers and empower individuals to take control over their own disability, creating opportunities for people around the world by giving them the power over their own limbs.
Find out more about Mitt Wearables at https://www.wearmitt.com/
Duvas Technologies has developed the DV3000, air quality monitoring technology that can analyse urban pollution by measuring the concentration of gas types to within parts-per-billion concentration. Using ultraviolet spectroscopy it can detect and monitor 14 hazardous gases simultaneously. Using patented technology, the DV3000 unit produces real-time atmospheric measurements of toxic gases including benzene, toluene, ammonia and formaldehyde.
Duvas works with environmental protection agencies around the world to monitor air pollution. The DV3000 is able to measure levels of urban pollution and track longer-term changes and trends.
Dr Phillipa Smith is the CTO at Duvas Technologies, leading the science team and overseeing its technical and manufacturing operations. Phillipa has been an SME Leader since 2018 and credits the programme with boosting her managerial abilities. She says: “The workshops, coaching and mentoring aspects have improved my confidence in my capabilities and provided additional tools to maximise my input to the business. The networking side of the business has provided a large range of peers from a variety of backgrounds and careers. I also chair the SME leaders general roundtable to facilitate peer support and discussion across different cohorts.”
Duvas Technologies has recently secured additional funding that will enable it to expand its sales reach and research and development. The company’s sensing and monitoring systems for air quality will be useful for the oil and gas sector and could have a legislative role to play in tracking air pollution worldwide.
Oxford Vision and Sensor Technology (OVST) is a University of Oxford spin-out that specialises in the design and manufacture of 2D and 3D machine-vision systems. These are transforming industrial manufacturing processes by allowing robots to guide and identify objects for automatic operation.
OVST’s Glazer Robot Guidance System is used by automotive manufacturers around the world when inserting glass into their vehicles. The system collates data to improve production processes and productivity from a cloud computing platform. This enables engineers working remotely to access the information and check the quality of every car leaving a site.
Fhon Supmak is the Chief Executive Officer at OVST, responsible for guiding the commercial and technical strategy of the company. Fhon became an SME Leader in 2019, and says: “The training and mentoring empowers me to think beyond my own personal experience. The networking has been helpful for the company vision and has connected me to a wider tech community.”
OVST’s products include 3D vision for robot guidance and inspection, activities that focus mainly on the automotive sector. The company is now expanding into new areas including laser tracking and welding applications. OVST has recently launched a new 3D vision sensor for automotive glazing and robot guidance that is the smallest and lightest on the market.
Advances in robotics are creating new opportunities for automating processes. However, robots lack the dexterity and sensing abilities of humans, making it a challenge for robots to complete many tasks that humans can do.
Wootzano Ltd is an electronics company with a patent-pending process for developing an electronic skin for robots. Known as Wootzkin, the technology enables robots to sense and feel as humans would, allowing robots to easily complete more dextrous jobs.
Wootskin can bend, stretch and twist without damaging its sensor for measuring force, pressure, temperature and humidity. It can be manufactured using standard techniques such as photolithography, stencil film or screen printing to enable micro or nanofabrication on soft materials.
There is a significant market for robotic manipulators that can perform dextrous jobs in the agri-robotics industry. Here, robots can transform agricultural capacity in areas such as picking and sorting fruit and vegetables. The agri-robotics market is currently worth around £1.6 billion and is expected to reach £9.68 billion by 2022.
As the company’s founder, Dr Atif Syed brings extensive expertise in electronics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence as he leads the company in scaling up manufacturing processes and bringing its first products to market.
Atif is also developing a strategic roadmap for future technological developments, including using Wootzkin for in tyre pressure monitoring and prosthetics. The electronic skin can also be used for robots deployed in extreme conditions, such as the autonomous maintenance and repair of wind turbine blades.
Dr Syed was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him in scaling up his startup and refining its technology to bring it to market.
Gallium nitride (GaN) has been dubbed the silicon of the future. It has properties that can give it an edge in the market including better energy efficiency, higher power and frequency operation than any other semiconductor material.
However, to make GaN widely available and get it adopted by the semiconductor industry (which is built almost entirely on silicon), there has to be a lower manufacturing cost and improved product performance.
Dr Tongtong Zhu is as a member of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride, and a co-founder of Porotech. The company, a University of Cambridge spin-out, has developed a new production process to make ‘porous GaN’. Porous GaN is a composite of solid GaN semiconductor and air. The company can create GaN with nanoscopic holes in it, from which it can engineer a wide range of material properties such as optical, mechanical, thermal and electrical. Essentially, it is offering a brand new material platform for semiconductor devices to be built upon.
In April 2020, Porotech closed a £1.5 million seed round investment that will allow it to develop a pilot plant in Cambridge, from which to launch its first products, enable customer validation and evaluation. Its first targeted market is LEDs. The company will supply highly reflective GaN mirror wafers to the epiwafer market - the essential base material to make LED chips - which will reach $2.3 billion by 2021.
Its second market focus will be for high power GaN devices. The company will sell porous strain compliance technology and GaN-on-silicon wafers for the emerging GaN power device market.
Dr Zhu says: “The pilot plant will start with small-scale production to show that our wafers can be made in volume and then potentially produce thousands a year.” Eventually, Porotech could license out its technology.
Dr Zhu joined the SME Leaders programme in September 2020 with ambitious plans to scale up his business. He wants to let go of some of the technical development responsibilities at the company and take on more of the business and management duties. Tongtong feels that the mentoring scheme and entrepreneurial courses will give him the leadership skills needed to take Porotech into its next phase of growth.
Porotech will start raising Series A investment in 2021, which will enable the company to start manufacturing its own semiconductor devices and products and licensing to address the worldwide market opportunity.
2018 – Porotech won Cambridge Enterprise’s Postdoc Business Plan Competition 2018
2019 – Porotech won the
gold award of the fifth China “Internet Plus” Innovation and Entrepreneurship
2019 - Dr Tongtong Zhu was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 – Closed a £1.5 million seed round investment
Visit their website: www.porotech.co.uk
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.