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.
Open surgery is the current standard for preparing patients for dialysis and bypassing blocked peripheral arteries. High failure rates (approximately 50%) in both cases present a serious danger to life and require repeat procedures, for US dialysis patients alone this adds up to $4.6 billion per year.
Sorin Popa, founder of Pathfinder Medical, developed an electronic catheter guidance system that enables clinicians to connect blood vessels in a minimally invasive way, eliminating the need for open surgery and improving outcomes for vascular procedures. This technology has the potential to reduce the cost and trauma associated with procedures to treat those with renal failure and peripheral arterial disease.
Worldwide 3.4 million patients have end stage kidney disease and require their blood to be routinely filtered externally through haemodialysis.
This requires surgery to open up the arm and prepare patients’ blood vessels by forming a connection between an artery and a vein (known as a fistula or vascular access site). Pathfinder Medical’s catheter system can be used to connect blood vessels using a small covered tube known as a ‘stent graft’.
This technology enables patients to receive kidney dialysis without surgery. It can also be used to bypass blocked vessels for those with peripheral arterial disease which affects over 200 million patients globally.
The technology improves outcomes for patients by reducing stress, discomfort and the risk of vascular access problems. It brings cost saving to healthcare providers by improving the efficiency of procedures and reducing the likelihood of costly repeat procedures.
The global market for the technology is worth over £3.8 billion annually. In the UK, the solution could save the NHS an estimated £45 million per annum on kidney dialysis alone.
A 2016 Enterprise Fellowship was awarded to Sorin to support the growth of his start-up as it trials its technology in preparation for commercialisation.
Co-founder, Head of Innovation and Director, OXSIGHT
OXSIGHT develops smart glasses that enhances the residual vision of people with visual impairments. Visual impairments can be caused by a range of degenerative eye diseases including macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. The glasses enable people to see their surroundings in more detail.
Over 50 million people worldwide are registered as having a visual impairment. OXSIGHT’s patented technology aims to promote independence, inclusion and opportunity by drawing on advances in machine learning and augmented reality. Its smart glasses combine style and functionality and make use of embedded cameras that can operate in a wide range of lighting conditions. These cameras collect video data that is processed using machine learning algorithms to detect faces, text and other objects.
The technology builds on research by Dr Stephen Hicks, Co-founder and Head of Innovation. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Dr Hicks aims to expand the company’s technical base and expertise in areas such as user-interfaces, mobile computer vision, personalised machine learning and wearable technology. He will use training and mentoring in systems such as change management to support him as he leads the company in exploring new ventures and product development at a time of rapid growth.
Visit OXSIGHT's website here.
Trade workers are at risk of long-term knee damage caused by kneeling. Existing knee pads lack flexibility, durability and sufficient support, further increasing this risk .
Victoria Hamiliton created Recoil knee pads following conversations with her father, a carpenter, about the need for trade workers to have access to better knee support. Victoria’s patented design sandwiches springs between two layers of support so that pressure is better absorbed and spread more evenly.
Developed by a team of biomechanical engineers, Recoil knee pads provide a 76% pressure reduction on the knee – a 20% improvement over existing competitors. The advanced cushioning provides trade workers with greater comfort while helping to prevent knee damage.
By incorporating a 360° pivot mechanism, Victoria has created a knee pad that moves more naturally with the knee. User-tests and feedback have helped the company to improve its design and achieve greater levels of protection and durability.
Recoil officially launched to market in 2016 and has since grown into an international business with sales in over 20 countries worldwide.
Victoria was awarded a 2017 RAEng 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellowship to further develop the business by recruiting to her team and expanding capacity for manufacturing Recoil Knee pads in Scotland, UK.
CEO and Founder, Biorelate Ltd
Over 80% of data is unstructured, which can make it harder to access and to develop insights from. With global scientific output doubling every nine years, biomedical innovation is limited by a company’s ability to make use of the large volumes of data at its disposal. Biorelate’s solutions overcome this challenge by creating a high-performance platform for curating biomedical knowledge that can be used to accelerate innovation.
Biorelate’s platform, Galactic AI, improves access to data and information. This enables drug discovery companies to gain better insights to develop new innovations. The cloud-based computing platform they have developed can organise, analyse and connect large volumes of data to save time and resources when solving complex research problems. Its high-level processing power provides real-time insights and ensures that companies keep pace with the latest research outputs and developments.
Daniel Jamieson, CEO and Founder, has set a vision for Biorelate’s growth that includes expanding product sales in existing markets and gaining traction in the US. Support from SME Leaders Programme comes at a pivotal time as he focuses on business development, product innovation and sales. He will be able to use training through the programme to further develop leadership skills, in areas such as negotiation, as the company enters a significant phase of growth.
Visit Biorelate's website here.
A child dies of malaria every two minutes, often because they arrive at hospital too late to be saved. The disease is one of the world’s most deadly, with approximately 207 million infections and more than 600,000 deaths each year. Drug resistance is spreading globally and many strains of the disease are untreatable.
George developed the MediSieve system to tackle this terrible situation. MediSieve uses haemofilter technology which ‘sieves’ the blood rapidly and safely reduces malarial parasites from a patient's system. This novel technology requires no drugs or chemicals and can be used to treat any malaria patient, including drug-resistant and other untreatable cases, keeping patients alive and symptom-free indefinitely.
Used either in isolation or as a stand-alone treatment, the haemofilter removes malaria infected cells directly from the bloodstream in a dialysis-like process.
In severe cases, MediSieve could reduce mortality and recovery times; in non-severe cases, patients could recover in hours rather than days as the efficacy of drugs is increased and their side-effects eliminated.
Following extensive trials, MediSieve products will be commercially available in the next couple of years.
Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) is essential for robots to explore and understand their environments. Nearly all autonomous vehicles or robots, from driverless cars to robot vacuum cleaners, use SLAM technology in some way. SLAMcore Limited, a spinout from Imperial College London, has developed spatial AI by using algorithms to generate reliable positioning and mapping intelligence on low-power, cost-effective hardware.
SLAMcore’s technology can calculate an accurate and reliable position without the need for GPS or any other external structure. Its software can enhance the capabilities of off-the-shelf sensors that enable commercially-viable solutions for applications such as warehouse robots, inspection drones, delivery and service robots.
Owen Nicholson is co-founder and CEO of SLAMcore. Owen became an SME Leader in 2020. He says that the programme can help SLAMcore: “I’m very excited about meeting and working with my mentor and coach. The former will hopefully help address some of the challenges of being a first time CEO of a deep-tech startup. The coach will guide us towards relevant tools, resources and best practice. The timing is right with us transitioning from a team with great tech, to a company with a great product.”
After three years of development and fundraising that has garnered millions of pounds backing, SLAMcore is now gaining commercial traction and developing product-market fit. If all goes according to plan in the coming years, the company will have thousands of robots using its spatial AI technology to calculate their positions, understand unfamiliar surroundings and navigate with consistent reliability.
Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Swytch Technology
Swytch Technology’s eBike conversion kit can be used to turn a regular bicycle into an electric bicycle. The lightweight, durable, hand-held kit is easy to fit, quickly removable and works on any make of bicycle.
Converting existing bicycles into electric ones is more energy efficient than building an electric bike from scratch. This makes Swytch’s patent pending technology a more accessible way to get the benefits of electric transport without the costs. Its system provides up to 250 Watts of power and a single charge can last up to 50 kilometres.
With over 5,000 customers across 40 countries, Swytch is well placed for a share of the global eBike market which is growing at over 50% every year. Swytch is now preparing to launch its new eBike system that aims to deliver industry-leading performance in a cost-effective way.
Dmitro Khroma, CTO of Swytch, is responsible for all aspects of the product development lifecycle including conceptual design, supply-chain management and quality control. Leadership skills gained through the SME Leaders Programme will support him in developing skills for high level strategy and leading a multidisciplinary team to ensure Swytch’s sustained success. Dmitro Khroma also plans to use networking and mentoring through the scheme. This will gain him benefits from a broad range of perspectives on some of the challenges facing rapidly growing business.
Visit Swytch Technology's website here.
There are approximately 1 billion people living with a neglected
tropical disease worldwide. Two of the main infectious diseases, visceral
leishmaniasis and cryptococcal meningitis, account for 220,000 global deaths
annually – most of these fatalities are children.
These diseases can be treated with liposomal amphotericin B nanomedicine (which measures ~100 nm), a safer and more efficacious version of amphotericin B. However, due to the difficulties and costs associated with large scale production, there is a significant global supply shortage of this crucial nanomedicine – around 60 million vials are needed with an estimated value of more than $6 billion. The current multi-step, batch-based process requires the addition and removal of water and organic solvents, which is inefficient. It also limits the potential scale of its manufacture.
Dr Justin Tian is one of the inventors of CommandNano technology. He is also a co-founder of the company that is aiming to overcome the manufacturing issues of the nanomedicine by creating a one-step, solvent/water-free continuous nanofracturing platform. This would enable scalable production by halving costs, reducing manufacturing time from hours to minutes, and allowing interactive integration of design and process. The new process maintains product quality and by eliminating the use of solvents or contaminated water, it generates no toxic wastes.
CommandNano is also capable of synthesising other nanomedicine systems such as solid lipid nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers and polymeric nanoparticles. It can also encapsulate small organic molecules, large biological molecules and inorganic nanoparticles.
The technology has already received £500,000 of financial support and is now looking to form a partnership for pilot scale clinical manufacturing. In the coming years it intends to conduct a bioequivalent study on liposomal amphotericin B nanomedicine. It will also file an FDA application in the US for producing generic drugs.
Dr Tian says: “The Enterprise Fellowship has enabled to me to actively engage with companies and organisations within the nanomedicine supply chain. It has also identified the key challenges in relation to the scale-up and commercial production of liposomal nanomedicines.”
2016 NSF-SFI centre-to-centre research project on continuous manufacture of
2017 Invest Northern Ireland Proof-of-Concept project
2018 Ex-vivo nanomedicine comparison
2019 Innovate UK ICURe programme
2019 Dr Justin YW Tian was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 The company made an international patent application for its process platform and formulation
CEO, Mobilus Labs
Mobilus Labs is transforming voice communication with a wearable, hands-free, ear-free voice platform that enables teams of any size to communicate and connect in any environment from whatever distance.
Using innovations in bone conduction technology and voice recognition, Mobilus enables voice communication in extreme and noisy environments. Its two-way bone conduction technology uses micro-vibrations on the surface of the head to capture voice and transmit it directly to the inner ear. Its ability to isolate the voice makes the platform effective even when used in noisy environments, making it easier for teams to communicate in target industries such as construction, mixed reality and the emergency services, amongst others.
Building on over 10 years of experience as an entrepreneur building complex hardware and software platforms, Jordan McRae founded Mobilus Labs and leads the development of its technology. Jordan will use the SME Leaders Programme to support his vision of creating a diverse and inclusive team focused on agile innovation while delivering a return to investors. Working with experienced mentors, Jordan aims to triple the size of his team as the company scales up and builds on traction in the construction sector where the cost of poor communication costs an estimated £16 billion each year.
Visit Mobilus Lab's website here.
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.
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 Dick Whittington FREng is an entrepreneur, business mentor and investor, focusing on the software industry and digital marketplaces, with over 30 years of experience in business. His experience has included co-founding a successful international software business recognised in UK through three Queen's Awards covering both innovation and international trade.
In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering where he plays an active role, including as a mentor for early-stage technology startups and spin-outs through its highly successful Enterprise Hub. He is also an active mentor and angel investor within several London and regional technology accelerator programmes, and is Honorary Professor of Business Innovation at the University of York.
Prior to pursuing business interests, Dick lectured in computer science at the University of York. He managed a successful research team and published several research papers and books. His latest book Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Cambridge University Press, 2018) provides an introduction to digital business for STEM students and early-stage entrepreneurs.
"The concept of the Enterprise Hub resonated with me as a solid, practical initiative to benefit UK engineering through engaging the Academy’s extraordinary network of talent. The role of the Hub in launching and scaling such businesses is of enormous value to the UK economy and the engineering profession.”
Paul Taylor FREng has led the delivery of some of the most demanding national security programmes in the UK, operating at the very highest levels of government. He is uniquely qualified to understand the evolving threat environment, as well as having an exceptional track record of driving and delivering change in complex organisations. Paul’s contribution to the world of science technology was recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013, where he now sits on its Engineering Policy Committee.
Paul is Deputy Managing Director at AWE plc, where he is responsible for providing the AWE Board and UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) with assurance of delivery of the £1 billion per annum nuclear warhead programme. Prior to this, he was Director General of Technology and Chief Information Officer in a central government department, where he was a member of both ExCo and the main board.
He held the position of Director General of Strategic Technologies and then Director General of Equipment in MOD, and Senior Responsible Owner for the UK’s Future Nuclear Deterrent. Paul was the first Chief Executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The post carried responsibility for all elements of defence research and the 3,000 staff that were retained within government following the split of MOD R&D activities into QinetiQ and DSTL.
A member of several government technical advisory committees, Paul also chairs the Advisory Board of the Imperial College Institute of Security Science and Technology. He is currently advising and exercising several global retail and investment banks at board level, helping to address their cyber and information protection challenges. Paul sits on a number of bank board risk committee advisory panels.
Formerly the UK Innovation Director for Atkins, Elspeth is the CEO and Founder of IAND, a digital platform that helps major enterprises manage multiple suppliers.
Initially graduating as a chemist, Elspeth later turned her hand to transport and urban design, demonstrating business and technical leadership on over 100 transport planning projects both nationally and around the world.
Elspeth chairs the Enterprise Hub’s Innovators Network and is a judge for the Hub’s Launchpad Competition. She is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
In 2017, Elspeth was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to Engineering and Enterprise.
“I believe that collaboration within our industry is the key to driving innovation faster. I am so proud to be involved with the Enterprise Hub, as a Mentor, and as Chair of the Innovators Network and to support young entrepreneurs as a Judge on Launchpad competition.
It is rare to find a place which brings together startups and established companies to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We have a shared goal which is to fast track the growth of engineering enterprises in the UK. The Enterprise Hub has helped me grow my business and it is helping young engineers build the businesses of the future.”
Dr Liane Smith FREng founded Intetech Ltd in 1991, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2012 for its software. She sold the business to Wood Group in 2013 and in 2018 she left to form a new consulting engineering business, Larkton Ltd.
Liane is enthusiastic about the capability of digital technologies to transform businesses, bringing efficiencies, cost reduction, production control and increasing safety. In her last role as Senior Vice President Digital Solutions for Wood, she built the new global service line and defined its strategy roadmap and development plan. Her expertise is in various specialist branches of engineering in the industrial and energy sectors and in software product design and commercialisation, data management, data analysis, and analytics.
“I try to fill in gaps in mentees experience and give them confidence in their decisions. Typically we touch on building strong teams, role and task delegation, agile development, growing sales, exporting and strategy."
Sir Peter Bonfield CBE FREng is a leading international business executive with over 50 years’ experience in the fields of electronics, computers and communications. Change management in international technology companies has been at the centre of his long and illustrious career.
Since 2002 Sir Peter has been involved with a diverse portfolio of companies and is currently operating at main board level or director of several companies in the US, Europe and the Far East. In the past, he has served in as CEO of ICL and more recently of BT Group.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1993), the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Marketing Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
Sir Peter is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, Freeman of the City of London, Honorary Citizen of Dallas, Texas and Member of The Pilgrims of Great Britain.
More information about Sir Peter can be found at www.sirpeterbonfield.com
Scientist and entrepreneur Dr Graeme Malcolm is CEO and founder of the multi-award-winning photonics and quantum technology company, M Squared. M Squared is headquartered in the UK with offices globally and is one of the UK's most innovative and disruptive technology businesses, well-known for creating the world's purest light.
Graeme finds technological and entrepreneurial solutions to some of society's greatest problems from improving healthcare to halting climate change. He's a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society Edinburgh, and The Institute of Physics and his achievements include an OBE for his services to Science and Innovation, The Swan Medal from the Institute of Physics, and Entrepreneur of the Year at the Amazon Growing Business Awards.
Dr Mark Selby joined Ceres Power in 2006 as a control systems engineer and spent several years in various leadership roles. In 2013, he became Chief Technology Officer as part of deploying a new corporate strategy to embed Ceres Technology through licensing to world-leading product companies like Bosch, Weichai, Doosan and Honda.
Mark is responsible for all aspects of the Steel Cell technology and brings 20 years of experience in clean technology product development, always working in multidisciplinary teams to solve hard science and engineering problems. As CTO, he sits at the interface of the commercial, technology, shareholders and wider stakeholders’ worlds and uses this insight to build ambitious collaborative programs that create value for everyone involved in the journey.
Prior to joining Ceres Power, he was part of the Control and Electronics Team at Ricardo UK Limited. Mark has degrees in electronics, dynamics and control systems from the University of Leeds and is a charted engineer.
His mission is to get world-changing science out of the lab and into products that actually change the world.
Professor Roger Benson FREng retired from full-time employment 2003. Since retiring he has been a part time consultant in world-class performance, working with the NDA and other organisations. In addition he has been a Chairman/Director of four university spin-out companies: PAROS (failed), Perceptive Engineering Ltd (recently sold), Industrial Tomography Systems (slow growth) and TDL Sensors Ltd (sold). When requested he is also an assessor for Innovate UK, EPSRC and EU projects.
Roger has been a judge for the UK Best Factory Awards for over 20 years. During that period he has visited and benchmarked over 200 of the best UK manufacturing plants across all industries.
Over a 35-year industrial career Roger worked for ICI. Positions included Chief Engineer of ICI Engineering Technology and Head of the Global Control / Electrical Function. He created and managed the ICI internal Manufacturing Technology capability. In 1993 he was seconded to the DTI Innovation Unit for two years where he coordinated and published the Winning Report. For the last four years of his career he was acquired by ABB where he was the Global Technology Programmes for ABB Analytics and Advanced Solutions, and an Executive member of ABB Process Solutions.
In 1999 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has published over 80 papers, and given many presentations on innovation, process control, benchmarking, world-class manufacturing and the future of the Process Industries. In 1999 Roger wrote and published the Institution of Chemical Engineers book, Benchmarking Process Manufacturing. It is still the only book on the subject. He has been a Visiting Professor to three UK universities.