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.
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.
CEO and Founder, Provenance
Provenance uses blockchain technology to help brands and retailers build customer trust through greater transparency. Its software platform helps brands to promote conscious, low-impact consumption by providing a digital history that makes it easy to trace and verify the origins, attributes and impact of a product.
Ethical spending grew by 3.2 % to £81.3 billion in 2016 and it has been suggested that products marketed as sustainable grow more than five times faster than those that aren’t. With openness and trust as key drivers to a brand’s success, Provenance leads the movement for greater transparency. Its novel data systems assemble and verify supply-chain information using blockchain technology. This allows information to be stored securely while remaining accessible but unchangeable. The software can be embedded into existing business systems making it easier for a company to provide accessible, trustworthy information about the origin, journey and impact of its products.
CEO and Founder, Jessi Baker leads a team that has more than tripled in size over the past year. With further growth anticipated to meet consumer demand, Jessi will use support from the SME Leaders Programme to help scaling up Provenance while navigating the challenges of establishing a new product in an emerging market.
Visit Provenance's website here.
COO, mOm Incubators Ltd
Cost-effective, electronically controlled, inflatable incubators, developed by mOm, could help to improve the survival rates of prematurely born babies.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 15 million premature births each year and highlights that preterm birth complications are the leading cause of deaths in children under the age of five, responsible for one million deaths in 2015. Three-quarters of these deaths are said to be preventable with current, cost-effective solutions. Compact, robust inflatable incubators, created by mOm can provide an accessible solution in places that need it.
The incubators have been designed in close collaboration with clinical specialists to ensure that it is both user-friendly and meets clinical quality standards.
Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, Matthew Khoory, has a significant role in leading strategy and business development as the company finalises development and testing of its product. This includes conducting clinical trials to gather the data needed for regulatory approval.
Using training from the SME Leaders Programme, Matthew will develop skills for managing a team that is growing significantly. Mentoring and coaching through the programme will help as Matthew strengthens skills in negotiation and project management to create and foster the partnerships that will support the company’s continued growth.
Visit mOm Incubator's website here.
Tracking items in shops, hospitals, factories and warehouses can be difficult. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) to detect and track passive (battery-free) tags placed on objects can be problematic - hand-held readers can take a very long time, but static/fixed readers often have dead spots and detection accuracy can be as low as 80%.
Dr Sithamparanathan Sabesan is the CEO and Co-Founder of PervasID. PervasID provide the most accurate passive RFID technology available using its patented, ground-breaking innovation. Using advanced signal processing techniques to overcome dead spot challenges, its technology can achieve a detection accuracy of more than 99% over an area of 400m² with a single reader and unlimited coverage with multiple readers. This has enabled the company to establish fixed readers, often in the ceiling, that capture the progress of a passive tag from the moment it enters a building to when it leaves. This ability to pinpoint items, even when they are tightly packed, has led to inward investment for the company of over £4.5 million.
PervasID’s technology is already used in industrial locations to enable tool-tracking in mission-critical applications and in hospitals to track medical devices, PPE and patient flow. In warehouses, shops and factories it provides a record of items from portal to checkout and has additional uses in logistics and supply chain settings.
“The SME Leaders programme provided leadership training that has enhanced my business skills and enabled me to take the company to the next level. We are no longer a startup, we are now a scale-up company. Over the next two years we plan to scale up our business while expanding our innovation and technology.”
Chief Financial Officer and Head of Commercial, Notpla
50% of plastic packaging is used once and thrown away with estimates suggesting that plastics can take several centuries to decompose. Notpla is a plastic alternative, made from plants and brown seaweed, that biodegrades naturally in 4-6 weeks.
Notpla’s sustainable materials can reduce plastic waste and lessen the carbon impact. It is estimated that they have 85 % less associated carbon emission than equivalent plastic packaging. The company’s first product, Ooho, is a flexible biodegradable packaging for beverages and sauces that can even be eaten!. Ideal for products with a short-use life, Oohos can replace plastic cups at sporting events and sachets in take-aways. Oohos recently replaced 40,000 Lucozade bottles at the Virgin Money London Marathon. Notpla’s future packaging solutions include heat sealable films, take-away boxes and nets.
Chief Financial Officer and Head of Commercial, Lise Honsinger, is responsible for business development, strategy and financial planning and leads the company’s transition from development to commercial operations. With a fast-growing team, SME Leader Lise aims to use mentoring and coaching through the programme to help establish operational structures and a culture that promotes growth as Notpla enters new global markets.
Visit Notpla'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.
Dr Robert Sansom FREng is an experienced angel investor and mentor to technology-based startup businesses in the UK and US.
He is the founder of the Cambridge Angels, a group of expert technology and biotechnology entrepreneurs who invest in and mentor technology startups across the UK.
Robert serves on the board of several startups including Arachnys Information Services, Cambridge Communication Systems, CRFS, Featurespace, IQGeo plc, Myrtle Software, and Netronome Systems. Prior to becoming an angel investor, he co-founded FORE Systems, a leader in high-speed data communications, where he was Chief Technical Officer. Fore Systems went public on NASDAQ in 1994 and was sold to Marconi plc in 1999.
Robert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010.
“Through my career I’ve built up considerable experience taking knowledge-based technology business from initial idea through to becoming successful businesses. I’d like to help a new generation of technology entrepreneurs do the same, and the Enterprise Hub is an excellent platform for me to do this.”
Steve is a leading expert with over 35 years of experience.in the fields of semiconductor device research, nanotechnology and millimetre-wave integrated circuit design.
After founding and leading the Nanoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, he co-founded and became Technical Director of Intellemetrics Ltd. His enterprising spirit continued with the foundation of Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd in 2001.
Steve became Vice-Principal for Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow in 2005 where e is responsible for the University’s research strategy and policies. These includes key relations with research sponsors and strategic partners. He also heads up the University’s enterprise activities which has a strong focus on research links with industry and the promotion of spinout companies.
Steve was awarded an OBE for services to the field of nanotechnology in the 2002 Jubilee Honours List and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.
“Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and engineering requires a genuine link up and sharing of knowledge between research partners and industry. The Enterprise Hub is a key part of this, sharing enterprising expertise with individuals who have an incredible amount of technical talent, and providing the links to springboard their success in the industry.”
Paul Excell is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor and global executive leader with an impressive track record of delivering growth and transformation in startups, scale-ups, global corporates and is passionate about social mobility. He is Chief Operating Officer and Non-Executive Director at ScaleUp Group™️, providing tech scaleups with unique insights from successful entrepreneurs with over $4 billion in exits plus patient equity/debt growth funding (£2 million to £20 million). He has six tech clients in the growth portfolio, and his clients have raised £30 million to date.
In addition to this, Paul is Co-Founder and Chair of Global iLabs, Founder and CEO of Excelerate™️ and Non-Executive Director with Knowledge Gateway (University of Essex). He acts as a judge and mentor for the UK Enterprise Awards and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Launchpad Innovation Award and SME Leaders.
Paul was previously Chief Customer Innovation Officer, Chief Operating Officer/Group Technology Officer, SVP[PS1] Global at BT, Chair/member of several business Boards (UK and Spain, Nordics, AsiaPac) and sat on BT Group Board committees on Technology, Risk and Diversity. He was an Engineering Council Board member and acted as advisor to UN Secretary General on sustainability, technology and innovation.
He started his career as an apprentice and is now a chartered engineer (CEng), Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), the Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS) and Court Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
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.”
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 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.”
Professor Neville Jackson FREng has spent nearly 40 years in industrial R&D, primarily in transport and energy systems. He has experience in managing complex R&D portfolios and spinning out new technologies into commercially funded startups.
He currently chairs both the RAC Foundation and the Institute of Digital Engineering Advisory Board and is also a non-executive director of the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre. He also chairs the Royal Academy of Engineering’s steering group for the Increasing engineering business R&D investment project. He has been a member of the UK Automotive Council since it was formed and is a member of the Strategy Team, chairing the R&D/Horizon Scanning working group.
From 2009 until 2019 he was Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Ricardo plc. He has co-ordinated and authored a wide range of technology roadmaps at national and European level, defining the potential, and technology pathways for transport energy, propulsion systems, future vehicle electrical/electronic architectures and digitalisation/virtual product development.
A graduate of Imperial College London, he is also a visiting professor at the University of Brighton. His past roles have included Chairman of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a six-year term as a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network, Vice Chair of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and a member of the Industry Delegation for the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI). He is also a Fellow of the US SAE and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011.
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.