Engineering entrepreneurs and the leading engineering innovators who mentor them met last night at the Royal Academy of Engineering to reflect on their achievements as members of the Academy’s Enterprise Hub, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. 

Originally started as a virtual hub funding seven spin-outs a year, the Hub now has a physical home - the Taylor Centre – within the Royal Academy of Engineering and now has a membership of 73 entrepreneurs and 54 SME leaders.

In just five years, the Enterprise Hub has been a catalyst for the creation of 57 new businesses and nearly 300 highly skilled new jobs. Seed funding from the Hub has resulted in new businesses leveraging more than 15 times that investment - a total of more than £60 million.

The Hub has supported a wide variety of entrepreneurs, but all have at the heart of their business a great technology or engineering idea. The Academy supports Enterprise Hub members for a year, which is twice as long as accelerators typically support entrepreneurs,[1] and it takes no equity in the businesses.

Examples of successful of Enterprise Hub members include:

  • Michael Tougher, inventor of Soundbops, a musical education toy for targeting pre-schoolers, who has just received €50,000 funding for his project and launched a Kickstarter bid to manufacture his product ready to ship for Christmas.
  • Dr George Frodsham’s company MediSieve, which has received a £150,000 grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in order to perform the first clinical studies of his magnetic blood filtration device, developed to remove malaria-infected cells from a patient’s bloodstream.
  • Dr Katerina Spranger, who joined the Enterprise Hub in 2017 to further the work of her company Oxford Heartbeat on a tool that uses computational modelling to represent a patient’s brain and the medical devices used during surgery. The benefits include reducing surgery time, improved patient outcomes, decreased likelihood of repeat surgeries, and considerable cost savings for hospitals. Oxford Heartbeat recently received an NIHR i4i Connect grant to help advance the technology.

Ian Shott CBE FREng, founding chair of the Academy’s Enterprise Committee, said:

“From the very beginning we were committed to transforming engineering entrepreneurs with high potential ideas into the business leaders of tomorrow, and to having a positive impact on our society. That’s our approach and we believe it really works.  

“The first five years of the Enterprise Hub have seen rapid growth in the support that we can provide and we want to continue that trend. Our vision is to be a key driver in creating sustainable wealth for the economy by fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and success among engineers in the UK.”

Notes for Editors

1.    Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

We have four strategic challenges:
- Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation
- Address the engineering skills crisis
- Position engineering at the heart of society
- Lead the profession

2.    The Enterprise Hub provides seed funding, mentoring and support for start-ups harnessing innovation and emerging technologies. Its Launchpad Competition identifies entrepreneurs with great ideas as young as 19. Its Enterprise Fellowship programmes support recent graduates and academic entrepreneurs to mature their businesses to the point where they can attract customers and follow-on investment. It’s SME Leaders programme helps those leading substantial companies who want to develop their skills to take their company to the next level.

3.    Enterprise Hub quick facts

  • 73 Hub members
  • 270 jobs created
  • 54 SME leaders supported
  • More than 150 mentors
  • Over 1500 mentor hours volunteered each year
  • £62m funding leveraged
  • 57 companies started by Hub members
  • A network of 25 supporters

For more information please contact: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0620; email: