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.
Wearable electronics are often rigid and limited in flexibility because of how they are manufactured. Wearable components often do not bend and stretch with the clothes that they are added to and can have issues with durability, especially when washed.
Textile Two Dimensional is a University of Cambridge spin-out that makes electronic inks using graphene, which can be printed directly onto textiles. These inks can be layered to create bespoke, functional and wearable electronics. The electronics, and graphene’s electrical and thermal conductivity properties, are integrated into the textiles while remaining flexible and washable. They can be comfortably worn and re-used several times, meaning that they are also cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
The company is working closely with end-product manufacturers to explore development for a range of smart wearables in areas such as personal health, fitness and wellbeing, protection and fashion.
Dr Tian Carey initially explored the potential
for the technology during his PhD at the University of Cambridge’s EPSRC Centre
for Doctoral Training in Graphene Technology. As a result, Textile Two
Dimensional continues to work closely with the Cambridge Graphene Centre to
promote innovative research with an emphasis on application.
Dr Carey was awarded a 2018 Enterprise Fellowship to support him as the team at Textile Two Dimensional grows and the company develops from an ink manufacturer to a wearable systems manufacturer.
CEO and Founder, Snap Vision
Building on a background in computer vision, Jenny Griffiths developed Snap Vision, a company offering visual search-based solutions for the fashion retail and publishing industry.
Snap Vision fuses visual search with fashion to improve the shopping experience. Its solutions turn any image into the start of a search, allowing its users to ‘shop the look’ in a magazine or the real world, and instantly learn more or discover similar alternatives.
The technology combines mathematical rulesets and deep learning algorithms to understand user preferences, including colour, shape and pattern, making it easier for consumers to find items that they want. This results in a better shopping experience and helps retailers to increase conversion rates, improve customer engagement and generate additional revenue.
Jenny, CEO and Founder, leads product development at Snap Vision while also setting a strategy for sales and fundraising. As an SME Leader since 2017, Jenny has benefited from training at the London Business School alongside mentoring support. This has helped her strengthen skills for leading a growing business.
Since receiving the award, Jenny has developed a number of strategic partnerships and successfully secured additional equity investment. This will support Jenny’s goal to rapidly scale the company’s sales cycle in its next phase of growth.
mOm’s cost-effective, lightweight incubators could help to improve the survival rates of premature babies.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 15 million premature births each year, and up to one million preventable neonatal deaths each year. Ensuring that babies are kept warm can help to prevent neonatal fatalities. mOm’s incubators are compact, robust and cost-effective so can be used in environments where conventional incubators are not available.
The incubators have been designed in close collaboration with clinical specialists including neonatologists, midwives and nurses to ensure that they are user-friendly and meet clinical quality standards. The resulting incubator provides a level of thermoregulation that meets the standards set for conventional incubators at a fraction of the cost.
James Roberts, CEO and Co-Founder, was inspired when he saw the issue highlighted in a documentary. He led the strategic development of the product and created the award-winning company behind it, with a vision of mOm increasing access to healthcare through affordable technology. The incubator is about to begin clinical trials.
James won the 2015 Launchpad Competition, and in 2019 was awarded a place on the SME Leaders programme.
Supported by the programme, James aims to strengthen his communication skills for effective leadership at all levels as the company moves towards rapid commercial growth and product realisation.
Oxford Space Systems' innovative structures, such as its novel large deployable antennas (LDAs), use both conventional and new materials. The LDAs offer significant savings in the build and launch costs of satellites and are lighter, less complex and can be stowed more efficiently than those currently in commercial demand. The development of a flight-worthy LDA is currently viewed as "strategically important" by the European Space Agency.
Although still in its early design stages, Oxford Space Systems is generating significant interest from satellite builders and operators globally and has gained investment from venture capital firms and various private investors.
Oxford Space Systems has the ambitious vision of establishing its position as the centre of excellence, making the UK the go-to supplier for large deployable antenna technology.
Shefali is one of the ten winners of our 2016 SME Leaders Programme.
Robots can be a useful educational resource to engage young people in science and engineering but they can be high in costs which prevents broader accessibility.
Founder of Robotical Ltd, Alexander, has created an affordable, working robot that can walk, dance, or even be programmed to play football. Targeted at young people from 10 to 18+, the robot is a fun, educational tool for both makers and educators.
Known as Marty, the 3D printable robot has a novel design. Unlike most two-legged robots, it uses fewer motors to control each of the robot’s legs, reducing production and retail costs significantly.
Designed with fun and engaging features, Marty can be used at home or in the classroom as a hands-on educational tool to help children build skills in coding and computational thinking.
Marty launched for sale online at Robotical in January 2018 and is now available worldwide. The company also creates and sells resources such as activities and lesson guides to promote digital skills and learning in STEM.
Sandy was awarded a 2016 Enterprise Fellowship to support the development of his affordable robot and to build his startup, Robotical.
Over 100,000 tents go to landfill sites each year in the UK alone, partially because a staggering one in five tents is left behind by UK festival-goers. This tremendous annual wastage has long-term environmental damage plus also leads to expensive clean-up bills and landfill taxes for festival organisers.
Architectural Studies student Amanda Campbell founded Comp-A-Tent to create the world’s first fully compostable, plant-based tent.
Her invention can be disposed of with commercial food waste, potentially saving festival organisers millions in clean-up costs and landfill taxes.
She has engineered the plastic to be weather-resistant, comfortable, light and cheaper to make than traditional tents.
Her innovation has many other potential applications, from biodegradable hammocks and to compostable furniture for weekend art installations and food festivals.
Surgeons need accurate, objective information to support decision making during minimally invasive surgery. They regularly rely on sight for intricate processes such as placing stents - small metallic tubes - in blood vessels in brain aneurysm patients. Better information could improve patient outcomes and save millions of pounds from being spent on corrective surgeries.
After her PhD at Oxford in Biomedical Engineering, Katerina Spranger has founded Oxford Heartbeat – a start-up company that has developed a medical device that accurately simulates the behaviour of medical devices inside patient’s brain during surgery.
Engineered to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy, the device improves surgeons’ ability to choose the correct stent for every individual patient. This aims to reduce surgery times, improve patient outcomes, decrease the likelihood of repeat surgeries, and save costs for hospitals and wider society.
The technology has been designed for easy and intuitive use by surgeons. By combining accessibility with precision, this virtual platform has the potential to become an essential tool for minimally invasive brain surgery. The start-up’s plans include exploring the use of its technology to optimise other types of surgery in the future.
Katerina was awarded the 2017 Enterprise Fellowship to continue developing this technology and her start-up, Oxford Heartbeat.
When Disabled Student Allowance funding for transcription services and note-takers was abolished in 2016, universities scrambled to find ways of supporting disabled students. Existing transcription services were prohibitively expensive and disabled students were at risk of missing out on hours of lectures each week.
Dr Yunjia Li and Professor Mike Wald founded Synote to address the need for accessible lecture videos. Synote is designed to deliver videos that are less costly and produced quicker than traditional methods. The system automatically generates an interactive transcript and captions from a video or audio copy of a lecture, and can integrate with university lecture-capture systems.
Synote can process the many tens of thousands of lectures given at universities each year, and users can quickly search through their transcripts for specific topics. The system even creates screenshots for each part of the lecture which can be printed with the transcript. Synote can also be used to automatically translate lecture transcripts into other languages, which can open up university education to a much broader base of international students. A unique ‘feedback loop’ enables students to correct speech recognition transcription errors to continually improve the transcript’s accuracy as the system ‘learns’ how to match new words with sounds.
Southampton University has invested significantly in Synote and other leading universities have expressed great interest. The ability to improve the learning experience of all students and particularly students with difficulties hearing or understanding lecturers, taking notes or attending lectures is of great value and significance to these institutions.
Although Synote was originally developed for universities, it can reduce the cost of captions and transcriptions in any business where video or audio recordings are used.
Christine Boyle was working as the managing director of her family roofing business when she realised that there was huge potential for the collection of solar heat energy on the large commercial flat roofs that her company constructed. Solar thermal is a renewable energy that is 70% efficient, produces the lowest carbon emissions, and is easily generated on site, but had not been widely used because of its expense, weight and inflexibility with existing architecture.
Christine set up Senergy Innovations to create the next generation of solar thermal panels. She worked with Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster to produce the product, ensuring that the renewable energy panels addressed the problems that previous solar thermal panels faced as well as making panels that appealed to consumers and architects.
Senergy Innovations’ solar thermal panel is made from 100% polymer plastic, making it 50% cheaper to manufacture and install than existing products. The panels incorporate carbon nanotube materials that enhance the thermal performance and mechanical strength, which ensures that they are durable. The module panels are lightweight, and allow integrations with both existing and new buildings, so that renewable thermal energy can be easily generated on site.
Senergy’s solar thermal panels are affordable, durable and easy to integrate, creating a renewable energy solution that is competitive with gas and oil.
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.”
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.”
Saeed is Technical Director at the prosthetic manufacturer Blatchford, winners of the 2016 RAEng MacRobert Award.
He has built a highly successful career based on outstanding innovation, product development and scientific research in the field of prosthetics. His work saw the company shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award in 2010.
Saeed has provided invaluable advice to emerging innovators in his field, such as negotiating with investors, creating new business cases and establishing alternative investment return strategies, IP issues, and how to identify new needs and opportunities in the market to develop a road map of future products.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2012.