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.
The fabrication of metal for applications such as laboratory benches and office furniture requires major expertise in materials, as well as finely tuned engineering processes. Ludwick Precision is a specialist in this area, leading in the fabrication of high-end, bespoke sheet, box and tubular metal solutions.
Established for over 25 years, the Hertfordshire-based company has built up a significant pedigree in the design and manufacture of products that have been engineered to meet customers’ specific requirements.
From design and prototyping, to assembly and installation, clients are supported at every stage in the process, positioning Ludwick Precision as a fully integrated manufacturing consultancy. This has enabled the company to develop several long-term customer partnerships through its consistent ability to deliver projects on time and within budget. Ludwick Precision’s extensive work in the pharmaceutical sector, for example, includes the development and manufacture of the first height-adjustable laboratory bench to be built in the UK.
Ryian Ludwick, Sales Director, will benefit from support and training through the SME Leaders Programme as his business embarks on a new programme of expansion. While acknowledging its manufacturing heritage, Ludwick Precision is adapting to changes in the industry by continuing to focus on the demands of existing customers, and exploring the potential to make products applicable to other niche market sectors.
From air-conditioning units to big data computing, heat-transfer components play a fundamental role in a range of technologies. Oxford nanoSystems is revolutionising the manufacture of these components with a novel coating technology that substantially improves materials’ heat transfer capabilities, enabling the development of lighter products at a reduced cost.
Before completing his PhD, Alexander Reip was invited to bring his expertise in nanomaterials to Oxford nanoSystems, which was then a new startup, where he played a founding role in developing its groundbreaking coating.
The coating facilitates production of heat-transfer components that are more efficient and consume less energy, improving their environmental sustainability. It is flexible enough to either be customised and incorporated into existing manufacturing processes, or applied to components after manufacturing.
Alexander is now CEO and leads a team that is dedicated to delivering the company’s ambitions to more widely implement its product. At this pivotal stage, the SME Leaders Programme will support him in strengthening the entrepreneurial skills he developed while engineering the innovative technology.
Drawing on a tailored programme of support, Alexander aims to lead Oxford nanoSystems towards its longer-term goal of marketing its technology to any industry that can benefit from greater efficiency in creating products with a heat exchange system, bringing savings to both manufacturers and consumers.
GreenSpur Renewables has developed a generator that could drive down the cost of wind energy, making this renewable energy source more cost effective, efficient and sustainable.
Wind turbines are getting bigger and require larger generators. Many existing machines use scarce and expensive rare earth magnets. In contrast, GreenSpur’s unique and patented design makes use of ferrite – a cheaper and abundant alternative type of magnet. Its low-cost, direct-drive generator can concentrate flux and maximise energy generation, making it the first company to develop a credible offering using ferrite magnets for large-scale turbines.
GreenSpur’s direct-drive permanent magnet generators (DD-PMG) are targeted at the offshore and large-scale onshore markets because of the rising demand from wind turbine manufacturers for bigger, reliable and cost-effective generators. Using a low-cost, abundantly available material has the potential to deliver substantial cost savings at multi-megawatt levels.
Founding Director, Andrew Hine, and the team at GreenSpur are working with partners that include the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Warwick Manufacturing Group to optimise the technology. As the company grows, Andrew will draw on support from the SME Leaders Programme to further develop the team and its strategic partnerships in preparation for commercialisation.
A desire to help create sustainable and resilient cities led Arthur Kay to develop bio-bean, the first company to industrialise the recycling process for spent coffee grounds and transform them into advanced biofuels and biochemicals.
With over 500,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds going to waste in the UK every year, Arthur recognised them as a valuable, and abundant, resource. They are highly calorific and packed with the right compounds to be a source of sustainable energy.
The company slots neatly into pre-existing waste and energy processes, and works closely with waste-management companies to get spent coffee grounds to their large-scale recycling factory. As a result, the award-winning clean technology company already collects thousands of tonnes yearly from offices, transport hubs and coffee shops, including Costa Coffee.
The used coffee grounds are then transformed into sustainable, high-performance products, such as biomass pellets for heating buildings, and the company’s first consumer product ‘Coffee Logs’ for use at home in stoves and fires.
Rapid growth has enabled the company to build its capacity to recycle up to 50,000 tonnes of used coffee grounds each year, which has significantly reduced the amount that ends up in landfill. By engaging in extensive research, bio-bean now plans to expand its range of advanced carbon-neutral biofuels and biochemicals for commercial use.
Transforming ideas and thoughts into digital three-dimensional (3D) models is currently done through 2D mediums. The traditional 3D design process can be a challenging and often requires training in complex, computer-aided design (CAD) programs.
A new software platform developed by Gravity Sketch pushes boundaries in design by allowing people to craft digital 3D content using gesture and touch.
Co-Founder and CEO, Oluwaseyi (Seyi) Sosanya, helped to create the technology to make it simpler for users to conceptualise their thoughts without the need to learn complex design software. Though the use of augmented reality, virtual reality and touch technologies, Gravity Sketch provides a fast, intuitive solution for developing 3D models and concepts.
Gravity Sketch tools are designed for seamless integration into real-world engineering workflows, helping design teams reduce the time spent in the initial design processes by up to 60%. It drives efficiency by allowing designers to create freely in 3D while ensuring that the right quality of information reaches technicians.
The product’s adaptability makes it a powerful addition anywhere that art, design and engineering intersect. Launched online in 2017, Gravity Sketch has a customer broad base including the automotive industry, computer-generated imagery and furniture design.
The 2017 Enterprise Fellowship was awarded to Seyi, to help bring Gravity Sketch’s tools to market.
In 2019, Seyi joined the SME Leaders programme with a vision to strategically expand the company’s customer base and develop talented technical and sales teams to support this. Mentoring through the SME Leaders Programme will help him to lead a rapidly growing team while fostering a culture of creativity and innovation at Gravity Sketch.
“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."
Smarter battery design can lead to longer-lasting, more reliable performance. Brill Power have achieved this with a technology for battery control and management that extends the life of multi-cell lithium ion batteries by up to 60%.
Multiple cell lithium ion batteries are used everyday on a broad scale, from the battery in your laptop to electric cars or even grid scale energy storage. In each case, energy-storage capacity is limited by the weakest cell in a battery pack. Brill Power’s intelligent solutions for control improve performance by monitoring individual cells, identifying weak points and making adjustments to the current load in line with each cells’ capacity. By regulating the distribution of energy at every charge, each cell’s potential is fully achieved, extending battery-life in a safe and reliable way.
Having helped develop the technology, Christoph now leads Brill Power in developing its commercial applications. This includes establishing partnerships to support the technical integration of Brill Power’s control systems into battery packs. The SME Leaders Programmes will support Christoph, through mentoring and training, as he puts the frameworks and policies in place for a company that plans to grow significantly in scale.
Supporting advances in research requires continuous innovation in the design and manufacture of equipment for gathering and analysing research data. Grant Instruments (Cambridge) Ltd. (Grant) is a global leader in this field, providing products and solutions for sample preparation, data acquisition and scientific analysis across life sciences and other industries.
In rapidly growing sectors, such as gene therapy and stem cell research, amongst many others, new demands are emerging for custom laboratory equipment. With a 65-year history of innovation, Grant is well-positioned to identify novel opportunities to produce reliable, high-quality equipment for customers across science, healthcare and industrial markets.
Today, a well-defined products and solutions strategy is enabling Grant to shape industry trends and innovation, future-proofing laboratory equipment specifications. As the company grows, it plans to create solutions that meet the needs of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, through unique applications and features, such as increased connectivity and secure remote data access.
Supported by the SME Leaders Programme, Alan is highly motivated to become a stronger and more influential technology leader by broadening the company’s innovation and reach, and building upon his existing knowledge and skills to develop professionally both as a technical expert and in the boardroom.
Efficient and sustainable processes for irrigation and control are transforming food production in urban environments. LettUs Grow have developed a patent-pending aeroponic technology that delivers higher yields in vertical farming. When combined with the company’s integrated farm management software, farmers have a hassle-free way of optimising crop conditions.
LettUs Grow’s aeroponic farming technology can be used in vertical farms to grow plants without soil, by watering their roots with a fine mist. This results in greater crop yields, while using less water and not compromising quality or taste. As the Engineering Lead, Co-Founder Ben Crowther drives the development of its technology, which will continue at LettUs Grow’s R&D facility being built in Bristol in 2018.
Ben will use support from the SME Leaders programme to guide the team at LettUs Grow in creating a strong foundation for growth. This involves drawing on the Academy’s network for advice on overcoming common issues for scale-ups, so that LettUs grow can make an impact on the global market for future farming technologies that is forecasted to grow 27% annually in the coming years.
Smart systems for wastewater management have the potential to transform sewers, by reducing sewer flooding and environmental pollution. nuron has developed a dual-purpose fibre sensing technology that allows more efficient sewer management, whilst also creating opportunities for smarter cities by improving infrastructural capacity for fibre networks, including fibre to the premise (FTTP).
nuron’s fibre sensing technology acts like a nervous system. It extends through sewer pipes to provide real-time measurements on flow, depth, temperature and structural integrity, delivering remote visibility of sewer performance. This enables a preventative approach to sewer maintenance as information can be used to identify and manage blockages, highlight irregular use and give early indications of structural damage.
With over 25,000 serious wastewater incidents in 2017, costing the UK £214M, there are growing demands to reduce inefficiency in wastewater management. Managing Director, Claire, leads nuron in developing a customer test-bed and bringing their solutions for improving sewer performance to market.
Support from the SME Leaders Programme will create opportunities and access to training that will help Claire build on her experience in managing small businesses and embed good leadership as part of nuron’s planned trajectory for growth.
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.”
Mike is a leading Silicon Fen-based entrepreneur. He is best known as a co-founder of enterprise software company Autonomy and founder of Invoke Capital, which invests in promising British technology businesses.
A celebrated technologist with a proven track record of identifying and monetising fundamental technologies, Mike has been recognised as one Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs in the industry. The Times has referred to Mike as “the closest thing Britain has to its own Bill Gates”.
Mike studied Information Sciences, received a PhD and held a research fellowship in adaptive pattern recognition at Cambridge University. After co-founding Autonomy he served as CEO for over fifteen years, during which time it became one of the UK’s most successful technology companies on the FTSE100. His latest venture Invoke Capital has raised over $1billion since its launch in 2012 and made its first investment in the cyber-security firm Darktrace in 2013 ,now valued at $800m, other investment areas include machine learning to automate legal functions, augmented reality and genomics.
Mike has received a number of prestigious honours throughout his career. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999 by the Confederation of British Industry; presented with an award for Autonomy as a technology pioneer by The World Economic Forum in 2000, and awarded an OBE in 2006 for Services to Enterprise. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2008.
“It’s vital that we encourage and support emerging UK technology businesses, and mentoring programmes are a great way of guiding those with fundamentally clever ideas to fulfil their potential. I’m proud to be a part of the Enterprise Hub, which is helping to ensure the next generation of talent keeps Britain at the forefront of science and innovation.”
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.”