Building future businesses: Royal Academy of Engineering recognises twelve new star entrepreneurs

26 Mar 2018

The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub is set to support 12 business leaders from 11 of the UK’s most promising engineering businesses through its SME Leaders Programme. The entrepreneurs selected come from a range of sectors and have developed technologies that could transform lives and industries, from sewer management for smart cities to improved data management for financial services. Each programme participant will receive up to £15,000 towards the cost of training courses and executive education for their own development, and earn lifetime membership of the Enterprise Hub.

SME LeadersThe SME Leaders programme enables the leaders of UK engineering SMEs to scale up their businesses by enhancing their leadership skills. It provides a range of money-can’t-buy training and development opportunities, including masterclasses from the biggest names in innovation, bespoke mentorship from industry heavyweights across engineering and technology, and access to the Academy’s Fellowship, a network of over 1500 leaders in engineering and business.

The engineering sector is of vital importance to the UK, contributing at least £280 billion-per-year to the economy and accounting for half our exports, and the government has recognised that the UK’s economic future must have innovation at its core. Through the SME Leaders Programme, the Enterprise Hub aims to give UK business leaders the tools and support they need to deliver world-class engineering solutions.

Haikal PribadiSME Leaders was launched in September 2016 and 19 entrepreneurs have completed the programme across two cohorts. Entrepreneurs from this programme have developed a range of pioneering technologies, such imaging technology that can detect cancer in real-time during surgery, a robot to insulate homes and the process of recycling spent cofees grounds into advanced biofuels and biochemicals.

Ana Avaliani, Head of the Enterprise Hub, says: “We are delighted to welcome these exciting entrepreneurs as members of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, where they can learn from some of the UK’s most successful business people. We will be arranging bespoke training for them all that will help them to maximise the potential of their own businesses as they expand.”

The 12 entrepreneurial leaders who will join the SME Leaders scheme this year are:

Christoph Birkl, CEO, Brill Power

Brill Power’s battery control and management system extends the life of multi-cell lithium ion batteries by up to 60%. Through smart battery design, their technology ensures that energy-storage capacity is no longer limited by the weakest cell in the pack. Brill Power’s solution monitors, regulates and adapts the current load for individual cells at every charge so that they reach their full potential. This extends battery life in a safe and reliable way that could significantly impact their use in a wide range of everyday items from laptop batteries to electric cars.

John Burton, Founder and CEO, Metronome Energy Ltd.

Demand side response technologies are creating opportunities for smart grid management by providing information that can help with managing fluctuations in energy supply and demand. Metronome Energy Ltd.’s low-cost technology achieves this by seamlessly integrating with its customers’ power consuming assets to generate live data on energy usage that can be used for balancing energy services. The technology can be used by customers including homeowners, small businesses, farms and supermarkets. Metronome Energy’s services enables customers to generate revenue whilst monitoring the performance of their energy-consuming assets.

Hugh Christensen, Researcher, BMLL Technologies

The financial markets are complex and a significant challenge lies in working with large-scale, highly dynamic data sets in rapidly evolving contexts is a significant challenge. BMLL Technologies (BMLL) offer a range of solutions to make this easier for customers ranging from tier one US investment banks in the US to hedge funds and trillion-dollar investment managers. BMLL’s platform brings clarity and ease to data management and analysis, enabling data scientists to efficiently interrogate data, allowing them to quickly generate insights that add value.

Benjamin Crowther, Co-Founder and Engineering Lead, LettUs Grow Ltd.

Vertical farms are a rapidly developing solution for increasing the world’s food supply. Improving irrigation and management processes could significantly increase crop yields. Co-Founder Ben, and the team at LettUs Grow, have developed a technology, known as aeroponics, that allows plants to grow without soil, by watering their roots with a fine mist. When combined with the company’s integrated farm management software, farmers gain a hassle-free way to optimise crop conditions and increase yields whilst saving water. With a pilot R&D vertical farm being built in Bristol in 2018, the company plans to scale up with a view to accessing a global farming technologies market that is forecasted to grow 27% annually in the coming years.

Claire Fenwick, Managing Director, nuron ltd.

nuron has developed a dual-purpose fibre sensing technology that allows more efficient sewer management. It also creates opportunities for smarter cities by improving infrastructural capacity for fibre networks, including fibre to the premises (FTTP). nuron creates networks of optical sensing fibres that extend through sewer pipes to provide real-time measurements on flow, depth, temperature and structural integrity. This can be used to improve sewer performance and reduce costs and environmental pollution in wastewater management by helping to identify and manage blockages, highlight irregular use and give early indications of structural damage.

Alan Finnerty, Head of R&D, Grant Instruments (Cambridge) Ltd.

Grant Instruments (Cambridge) Ltd. (Grant) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of equipment for gathering and analysing research data. With a 65-year history of innovation, Grant continues to develop reliable, high-quality equipment that meets the adapting demands of customers across scientific, healthcare and industrial markets. For rapidly growing sectors, such as gene therapy and stem cell research, amongst others, Grant’s solutions are evolving to accommodate Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. This is leading to the development of new, customised laboratory equipment with unique applications and features, such as secure remote data access and increased connectivity.

James Gough, Chief Business Development Officer, Cydar Ltd.

Cydar’s cloud-based solutions are helping surgeons with the delicate task of navigating complex networks of arteries and veins in vascular surgery. Cydar’s game-changing advances in imaging fuse live 2D X-rays with the patient’s CT scan to create 3D overlays that provide deeper insights. Core algorithms recognise and adjust to the patient’s anatomy in real time, giving surgeons automated access to more accurate information. This improves patient outcomes, reduces operating times by 28% and reduces radiation exposure, a significant benefit to medical staff.

Pawel Kisielewski, CEO, CCm Technologies Ltd.

A patented technology developed at CCm Technologies Ltd. can use industrially produced CO2 to make valuable products such as fertilisers and replacement plastics. This highly adaptable technology adds value by cleverly combining CO2 with other waste streams, leading to more efficient and environmentally sustainable processes. A target market for the team at CCm Technologies is agriculture, where the technology brings together farm waste and CO2 captured from power generators to produce fertiliser for crops. The company’s first full-scale commercial units for fertiliser production launch in early 2018 and have capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes of fertiliser per year.

Ian David Macafee, CEO, Oxsensis

Oxensis have developed optical sensors to meet the challenge of taking precise measurements for variables such as temperature, pressure and acceleration in harsh, industrial conditions. Oxsensis manufacture optical sensor systems for industries relying on high-accuracy measurements, such as aerospace, energy and oil and gas. Oxsensis’ sensors provide an efficient, cost-effective way to capture data at the heart of the action and deliver it via optical fibres for use in monitoring systems. This helps to enhance performance in critical applications such as flight systems for managing safe propulsion of aircraft and gas turbine monitoring for clean energy production, amongst many others.

Haikal Pribadi, Founder and CEO, and Tomás Sabat, COO, GRAKN.AI

GRAKN.AI (Grakn) has developed a knowledge graph technology to organise complex networks of data and make it queryable. Rooted in Knowledge Representation and Automated Reasoning, Grakn provides the knowledge base foundation for Artificial Intelligence systems. Effectively, Grakn is a database that allows AI systems in industries such as financial services, life sciences and cyber security to model, query and analyse complex information easily. Rather than relying on large, highly-skilled teams of data engineers, Grakn’s intuitive and expressive database streamlines the knowledge engineering workflow so that new insights, solutions and discoveries easily emerge.

Sithamparanathan Sabesan, CEO and Co-Founder, PervasID Ltd.

Ground breaking patented technologies developed by PervasID draw on advances in Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to create new opportunities to track items rapidly, accurately and in real-time. Developed from spin out technology from the University of Cambridge, PervasID’s solutions are made up of networks of antennas that detect and track items carrying passive RFID tags. They achieve an extremely high level of accuracy (99%+), enabling cost-effective, continuous monitoring for use in industries such as retail, healthcare, manufacturing and security.



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