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.
When grains like wheat and barley are stored in sheds and silos for long periods of time, there is a risk of damage from insect infestations and mould. Long-term storage losses can be up to 20% and there is currently no single way to verify the moisture and temperature of grains being held.
Existing grain-monitoring solutions measure only one variable and have limited reach. Crover Ltd’s remote monitoring device provides real-time data across a range of measurements including temperature and moisture through the whole silo. It does this by using sensors in a small robotic device called a Crover. Similar to a drone’s wings in air, or a boat’s rotor in water, it uses a patented method to move through solid grains and build up a map of conditions within the grain storage unit.
Lorenzo Conti, founder of Crover, made his breakthrough when researching his doctorate in granular physics at the University of Edinburgh. He developed a method for moving through groupings of solid particles like sand, grains and powders. His company patented the core technology for locomotion in bulk solids and is now developing a version of the probing device that can be tested and reviewed by potential buyers.
Lorenzo’s robot system will allow customers such as farmers, brewers, cooperatives, as well as grain merchants, to identify adverse conditions in their stock. The potential for the technology is substantial. In one year, one Crover could save up to 380 tonnes of grain from damage.
Crover has won a dozen prizes and competitions in the last couple of years and as well as seed funding. The company now has five full-time members staff and an international Patent Corporation Treaty application pending. Potential future applications for the innovation include subterranean exploration and the recovery of underground objects buried in terrains like desert sand and the Moon’s lunar soil.
Lorenzo says: “Looking back over the last 12 months I can see how I’ve made the steps from being a researcher to becoming an entrepreneur. The Enterprise Fellowship and Higgs Centre for Innovation, Edinburgh, have made sure that I had a clear path to follow.”
2018 – Shell Livewire – ‘Smarter Future’
2018 – Climate Launchpad Global – third place (highest UK team placement ever)
2019 – Started first on-site tests
2019 – DR Lorenzo Conti was awarded with an Enterprise Fellowship
2020 – Chivas Venture global award
2020 – UK patent covering the core technology for locomotion in bulk solids granted (GB2567898)
Visit their website: www.crover.tech
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.
A lack of smart energy storage options is linked to poor energy distribution in developing countries and inefficient energy management in developed ones.
Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, CEO and Co-Founder of H2GO Power, has engineered new hydrogen-based energy storage units that use patented catalyst that allow energy to be released on demand.
This clean, low-cost energy storage solution has the capacity to store five to ten times as much energy as their battery equivalents. It could impact energy storage at every scale, from the provision of low-weight energy for drones to large-scale energy storage for national grids.
As an innovator with a strong drive to generate social impact, Enass Abo-Hamed aims to harness the technology’s abilities to utilise excess renewables, and facilitate reliable distribution of power in countries where energy supply is intermittent.
Initiatives are underway to penetrate the fast-growing, green energy market in remote islands, where H2GO Power’s Hydrogen based fuel units would offer a clean, low-cost solution for round-the-clock power.
There is also significant industrial interest from companies keen to explore other ways this disruptive technology can support smarter energy management.
Enass was awarded the 2017 Enterprise Hub Fellowship to help grow and develop her start-up, H2GO Power.
There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year. Almost two-thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability and in need of rehabilitation, with arms and hands most commonly affected.
Through his digital health startup Neurofenix, Guillem Singla Buxarrais is seeking to increase the accessibility and effectiveness of post-stroke rehabilitation with the NeuroBall, a novel and cost-effective medical device making bold changes to stroke rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy exercises can be repetitive and boring, whereas the Neuroball encourages users to exercise the whole arm, from shoulder to fingers, through a set of entertaining games, keeping the user engaged in their therapy.
Engineered with stroke survivors and physiotherapists from inception, the mobile application and handheld controller is a user-friendly device that helps people to regain function in an enjoyable way, as verified in user testing.
Guillem’s experience of volunteering in stroke rehabilitation motivated him to ensure that stroke survivors and physiotherapists were involved with the engineering of the device from inception. The mobile application and handheld controller is user-friendly and helps people to regain function in an enjoyable way, as verified in user testing.
The Neuroball has been engineered to sensitively monitor recovery. It shows stroke survivors their progress, and they can share results with a supportive online community, helping them to feel re-connected with family, friends and other survivors.
Guillem was awarded a 2017 Enterprise Fellowship supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to continue developing this technology and the Neurofenix team has grown rapidly as a result. It is also supported by the Nominet Trust and Entrepreneur First.
"The Enterprise Fellowship had a profound impact on Neurofenix’s progress and reducing our time to market. Our mentor and the Enterprise team provided invaluable support throughout."
Oliver has spent over five years as part of a team developing clinical probes that could revolutionise cancer screening. They are committed to enabling on-the-spot cancer diagnosis with minimal discomfort for patients - and without an anxious wait for results.
The group has developed a proprietary method of using small probes using fibre optics to direct laser light onto cells. They then analyse the interaction of this light with the molecules inside. This provides a molecular ‘fingerprint’ to identify different types of cells and any cancerous changes within them.
Using this technique can yield almost instantaneous results and is both faster and more objective than current testing. Traditional testing involves sending tissue that has been surgically removed to a lab to be analysed by a pathologist, a process that is traumatic for the patient and costly for the system.
The new process has been demonstrated to be at least as accurate as conventional gold standard pathology. However it doesn’t require the removal of tissue and allows for the immediate intervention and ongoing monitoring by clinicians.
In future, the technology is seen to have many other clinical applications as well as this humane testing process.
The technique has already undergone extensive tests on human tissue at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with one of the probes set to begin clinical trials within 18 months.
Smell disorders can detrimentally impact a person’s wellbeing. For example, when someone loses their sense of smell it can mean that food loses its flavour or their social interactions are impaired. This is especially relevant among an ageing population.
Current technological solutions to measure and train people’s sense of smell are not standardised or accurate, and are based on manual approaches such as soaked pens and scratch-and-sniff saturated materials. These manual approaches have shortcomings including a lack of control over smell stimuli, consistency of the smell delivery parameters such as intensity and concentration and a lack of comparable digital performance records to determine changes over time.
Dr Emanuela Maggioni and Professor Marianna Obrist are co-founders of OWidgets (Olfactory Widgets). Their company is developing patented digital, personalised, and automated smell training solutions that will enable standardised, comparable, and replicable smell stimuli.
OWidgets is looking to develop opportunities beyond the health and medical sectors. Its technology has been used by a creative studio exploiting multisensory elements to enhance participants’ immersion in a virtual reality project that has been displayed at the World Economic Forum in Davos and has long-term installations in Singapore and New York.
OWidgets is now developing a cloud-based software solution to help with smell training, including digital performance records. Smell disorders are associated with early onsets of degenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Retraining the brain to smell through regular exercises can positively impact cognitive capability and memory. An adaptive hardware system helps training usability and user experience, making it more engaging, and keeping people motivated to do the training regularly.
Dr Maggioni says: “We have partnered with Rockefeller University (SMELL-RS) to create the first automated and standardised smell test toolkit to measure smell capabilities and extending smell training. We aim to integrate the smell training into smell tests, akin to eye tests/hearing tests, as part of routine healthcare checks, promoting a culture of ‘sense of smell care’ and ‘smell physiotherapy’.”
She continues: “The Enterprise Fellowship has been a life-changing experience! The support of the mentors, the Enterprise team, the workshops and networking possibilities have been invaluable and positively impacted the growth and development of OWidgets.”
2017 – OWidgets receives equity-free funding from European Research Council’s Proof-of-Concept programme
2018-19 – OWidgets obtains its first international
clients and early technology adopters in the immersive experience sector
2019 – Dr Emanuela Maggioni was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship
2019 – OWidgets Ltd spun out from the University of Sussex
Visit their website: www.owidgets.co.uk
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.
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.