• Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub debuts UK’s top entrepreneurs to investors and engineering community
  • Entrepreneur behind Alexa’s artificial intelligence encourages entrepreneurs to bring world-leading ideas to the market

The Royal Academy of Engineering's Enterprise Hub hosted its fifth Annual Showcase last night at Prince Philip House in London (Thursday 31 May). The evening celebrated the UK's most promising deep technology and engineering entrepreneurs, providing an opportunity to secure commercial backing for their innovations. The event gave 14 Hub Members a platform to attract support and funding from Britain’s leading engineers and investors. Last year, nearly £27 million investment was secured by Enterprise Hub members in fields closely aligned to the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, commented:

“The Government’s Industrial Strategy is a key part of unlocking the potential in the UK’s research and innovation base to deliver products and services of value to our economy and society. It is vital that government, industry and academia work together to create a culture of confidence amongst Britain’s world-leading researchers and engineers and provide sustained, long term support. The innovations showcased this year are fantastic examples of how the Enterprise Hub builds belief amongst engineering entrepreneurs, helping to bring new and exciting concepts to market.”

Fresh research from the Enterprise Hub underlines the importance of such events for the many engineering enterprises from outside London. A poll of Britain’s engineering community found just 15% based outside London had founded their own firm, in contrast to 63% in the Capital. One explanation for this may lie in attitudes to risk. Those outside London were 23% more likely to hold back due to worries that they might fail. Two thirds of the entrepreneurs bidding for support at this year’s Showcase are based outside London.

William Tunstall-Pedoe, the British entrepreneur behind the AI technology used in Alexa, who will speak at the event this evening, commented:

"Creating a hugely successful enterprise involves much more than just a good idea, it requires persistence, iteration and a great deal of support. As a nation our research and development is second to none. Our focus must be on the help we offer enterprising engineers to commercialise their world-class ideas and scale the resulting businesses to world-leading size."

Since 2013, the Enterprise Hub has supported over 100 entrepreneurs and SMEs, helping to develop ideas into investable, high-growth companies. To date 70 high growth startups have been established generating 300 jobs in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to healthcare technology.

The 160 guests at last night’s event included the UK’s leading engineers, venture capitalists and investors. The evening provided an opportunity for the entrepreneurs supported by the Enterprise Hub to recruit support for their business ventures. It is the culmination of more than a year’s support from the Enterprise Hub, helping those with engineering ideas to develop the skills and confidence to take their business to the next level. 

Ian Shott CBE FREng, Chair, Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Committee, added:

“This year’s presentations have clearly demonstrated that an entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking in the UK. We founded the Enterprise Hub to bring together exceptional engineering business leaders, both emerging and established, to help them develop their businesses and scale up for maximum impact. Given time and support they have begun to develop tomorrow’s world-leading innovative enterprises, extending Britain’s reputation for invention and creativity.”