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.
CEO, Odin Vision
Odin Vision has developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) technology for endoscopy to help support doctors in detecting and diagnosing cancer.
Patients showing signs of bowel cancer may have a colonoscopy with a small endoscopic camera to inspect tissue for small growths, called polyps, some of which can develop into cancer. These can be challenging for clinicians to detect and diagnose with some studies suggesting that over 20% of polyps can be missed.
Founded by a team of clinicians, medical imaging and AI experts, Odin Vision has developed a suite of tools that use AI to improve detection and diagnosis. The technology uses deep-learning algorithms to identify polyps in real-time so that doctors can more efficiently make diagnoses at the earliest stage possible. This improves patient outcomes by increasing opportunities for early treatment to reduce the incidence and impact of bowel cancer.
Peter Mountney, CEO, is developing a strategy to support Odin Vision through clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval. Peter aims to use a combination of training, mentoring and coaching through the SME Leaders Programme to get timely support in financing and change management at a time of significant growth.
Visit Odin Vision's website here.
COO and Co-founder, Open Bionics
Open Bionics have created the Hero Arm, an affordable, 3D printed, multi-grip bionic hand. Lightweight and durable, the Hero Arm is an empowering, medically-approved, myoelectric prosthesis for below elbow amputee adults and children aged eight and above.
Designed with customisation and comfort as priorities, the Hero Arm is lightweight and robust while also being breathable and adjustable. Embedded with special sensors, it intuitively detects muscle movement so that it can move and coordinate with life-like precision.
Developed by a rapidly growing team in Bristol, the award-winning technology is now available through prosthetic clinics in the UK and Europe with expansion into the US market planned soon. COO and co-founder, Samantha Payne leads Open Bionic’s product design, branding, communications, culture, HR and customer service. Samantha will use training and coaching through the SME Leaders Programme to strengthen leadership and management skills as the start-up scales internationally. Mentoring and coaching support will also help Samantha to further develop her design-thinking and gain a deeper understanding of the company’s commercial offering as it expands into new markets and develops new products.
Visit the Open Bionics website here.
Many young children want to engage with and create music but can find it difficult to learn an instrument.
Coming from a musical family, Michael developed the technology to support children to enjoy and be creative with music. He felt that the challenge of getting sounds out of an unfamiliar instrument gets in the way of understanding how notes fit together to make music.
Michael’s solution uses ‘Bops’ - brightly coloured blocks that each play different musical notes when arranged on a board. The Bops can switch between different instrument sounds and be endlessly rearranged to create new tunes and even combined into chords when stacked together.
Designed for children aged three to six years old, Soundbops makes it easy and fun for children to create their own music, discovering as they go what works and what doesn’t.
The technology’s ease-of-use encourages creativity and experimentation. It has strong educational value as it engages children in reading sheet music and composing songs without having to first master a complex musical instrument.
Michael plans to work with toy manufacturers and schools to capture a share of the £45 billion global educational technology market. In February 2018, Michael ran a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising over £50,000 to start manufacturing Soundbops.
Michael was the winner of the Hub’s 2016 Launchpad Competition and received the JC Gammon Award – a prize of £15,000 and Membership of the Hub.
CEO, Agile Analog
Agile Analog’s novel approach to the design of analogue semiconductors is transforming the electronics industry by making it easier to deliver customised solutions in electronic circuits.
As systems-on-chip and application-specific integrated circuits grow in complexity to meet digital demands, the demand for better analogue solutions has also increased. Current techniques in analogue design are based on older, manually-intensive methods that often lead to components that are restricted in use, inefficient and costly to change. Agile Analog uses artificial intelligence to automate the design and delivery of customised components that efficiently match customer’s requirements at the same time as driving efficiency in both power consumption and cost.
Tim Ramsdale, the company’s CEO, is developing a roadmap to support Agile Analog as it enters the next phase of growth. This includes raising additional funding, delivering first products to market and expanding their customer base. Tim will use training and development through the SME Leaders programme to strengthen skills in areas such sales and business development as the company targets a $2 billion market in analogue intellectual property design.
Visit Agile Analog's website here.
Plural AI is creating a new way to navigate industries by building a rich map of the world’s corporate landscape. Using natural language processing and machine learning, it mines and links web data such as websites, filings and news sources to create an understanding of what companies do, their ecosystems and how well they are performing. Clients can access Plural AI’s proprietary knowledge graph to gain bespoke financial insights and analysis.
Camille Rougié is Co-Founder and CEO of Plural AI. Camille joined the SME Leaders programme in 2020. She says: “I am looking forward to the one-to-one mentoring and coaching. I am also very excited to meet the other participants in the programme. In my experience, peer mentoring and support has always been one of the best ways to learn the tricks of the trade.”
Plural AI’s knowledge engine is readily scalable. It can deploy systems across the internet to apply additional metrics and filters. The company can also build predictive models to help make informed financial decisions. In the coming years, Camille says that the focus will be on building up the company’s profile and brand as well as accelerating its growth and expansion.
Gravity Sketch is an intuitive 3D design platform enabling cross-disciplinary teams to collaborate in an exciting new way. The technology allows designers to conceptualise their plans without needing to learn to use computer-aided-design (CAD) software, from concept sketches through to detailed 3D models using augmented reality, virtual reality and touch technologies. Users can view and manage their designs on their desktop and integrate Gravity Sketch within their end-to-end workflow. Design teams can reduce concept-time processes by up to 60%. The company aims to fundamentally change the workflows of engineers and industrial designers by speeding up the design process, saving money and making collaborations between stakeholders more efficient.
Oluwaseyi Sosanya is a mechanical engineer who co-founded Gravity Sketch Ltd in 2014. Oluwaseyi has used his experience in manufacturing physical products to focus the development of the software to solve spatial and ergonomic challenges in real-time. Now, users can make their workflows with existing CAD and rendering software immersive.
Oluwaseyi became an SME Leader in 2019 and credits the programme with promoting his business acumen. “It has provided me with a mentor who has helped me further develop my leadership skills, augment my strategic business skills, and make better decisions about growth and market focus.”
Since becoming an SME Leader, the company has raised £3 million in seed investments and been awarded a Horizon 2020 grant of £2 million, as well as increasing its workforce by a third. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for design teams to work from home, it became more important for remote workers to be able to integrate their work online. The increased adoption of immersive 3D technologies and cloud computing has benefited Gravity Sketch. The company is widening its customer base and increasing its direct-to-consumer sales.
“Not only has the Enterprise Hub opened me up to new professional networks, it has also helped me to readily access knowledge that is accelerating our efforts to bring our innovation to market."
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Arctoris
Arctoris offers fully automated experiments-as-a-service that helps researchers to accelerate progress towards new discoveries. The service increases accessibility in cancer research by making cutting-edge techniques available using just a laptop and internet connection.
Current data generation methods in cellular and molecular biology are inefficient and yield poor quality data. Arctoris enables efficient data generation with a high degree of consistency, precision and reliability. Leveraging the power of robotic experimentation, Arctoris makes it easier for researchers and biotech entrepreneurs, in cancer research and other fields, to generate, analyse and visualise data. The cloud-based platform removes many of the financial, technical and geographic barriers to cancer research, improving the accessibility of leading techniques to all.
Arctoris co-founder, Tom Fleming, brings significant expertise as a chemist and experience in leading clinical research to the role Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for overseeing daily operations and directing strategy and development of new capabilities and technologies.
Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Tom has plans for the company to scale effectively and transition from small-team strategies to large-scale approaches for global distribution. Leadership training will help Tom to develop skills in measuring individual and team performance while creating an organisational culture that promotes collaboration, satisfaction and exceptional results.
Visit Arctoris's website here.
Since Bethan was 15 she has been fascinated by DNA, "I mean what could be cooler than understanding the code of life?" She wondered. Following her passion took her to University College London and gave her access to machines that could sample DNA - hugely expensive machines that only a few people could ever dream of using.
A college competition entered with friends started her on the road to creating the Bento Lab - a personal DNA lab that costs as much as a laptop and is not much bigger or heavier.
Now field workers can take their own kit with them rather than having to go back to their labs and anyone - not just professionals - with a passion for biology can sample their own genes or see what is in their beer. Or for the very brave, their burgers. Who knows what future Bethans armed with the Bento Lab will discover?
Her company, Bento Bioworks, is making learning and working with molecular biology orders of magnitude more accessible. The toolkit weighs only 3kg, fits on an A4 footprint, and contains all the equipment required to carry out basic research in molecular biology. This has widespread implications for science and engineering education as bento•lab users will be able to engage hands-on with genetic engineering and could potentially contribute to large-scale research projects. They are already taking orders after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
You can watch a video about bento•lab here.
“One of the challenges we all face is thinking that there’s a perfect time to start your own business. The harsh reality is that this mythical moment never arrives. There will always be challenges and excuses to delay making that decision, but at some point you need to get past those mental roadblocks and take the plunge."
CEO, Cambridge GaN Devices Ltd
Cambridge GaN Devices’ (CGD) new approach to designing high-performance Gallium Nitride (GaN) power electronic devices could transform the 600V semiconductor industry by offering a more efficient alternative to current silicon-based and GaN devices.
GaN’s physical properties mean it can operate at higher frequencies than silicon, resulting in circuits that are smaller, faster and more efficient. While GaN power devices already exist, CGD’s approach overcomes the stability issues associated with them, through use of a novel, patented transistor and adding smart functionalities. This new combination makes CGD’s solutions more accessible, allowing customers to leverage the benefits of GaN in a wider range of applications.
The University of Cambridge spin-out was co-founded by CGD CEO, Giorgia Longobardi who had a central role in engineering the core technology. Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Giorgia is defining the company’s strategy while developing a rapidly growing staff. With an energy-efficient product that delivers from 5- to 10 times less power losses, Giorgia’s vision is to establish production partnerships and a customer-base that will allow CGD to target the £400 million GaN power device market.
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.