From education to employment

Fellow’s substantial gift to the Academy helps to supercharge SME leadership

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub has received a major boost to its mission to enhance SME leadership through a seven-figure gift from Ian Shott CBE FREng. Ian is a highly successful entrepreneur who played a pivotal role in establishing and growing the Enterprise Hub since its inception in 2013 to support new and scaling engineering and technology companies.

SMEs have always been the backbone of the UK economy and Ian’s gift will fill a clear gap in support provision for the fast-growing SME sector. The Shott Scale Up Accelerator, a six-month programme run twice a year, will offer a game changing support package to individuals in decision making roles to develop their leadership skills in high-growth engineering and technology SMEs that display excellence in engineering. Support includes a £10,000 grant towards leadership courses, a transformational programme of training and workshops, expert business mentoring, one to one development coaching, and facilitated access to an exceptional network of specialist experts, entrepreneurs and industry leaders drawn from the Academy Fellowship. The Accelerator will help scale up businesses built around technologies of strategic importance for UK Government – such as AI, digital and advanced computing, energy, bioinformatics and smart machines – and play a key role in supporting UK economic recovery post COVID-19.

Ian Shott says: “Supporting the growth of a dynamic, home-grown SME sector is vital to UK economic recovery, and so we need to help SMEs scale up more ambitiously. Engineering has given me a fantastic career, and I am indebted to the profession and many exceptional entrepreneurs from whom I have learnt a great deal. I am delighted to now be able to support a new generation of entrepreneurial engineers to scale their businesses and succeed. I hope this contribution to the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub will help to bolster the entrepreneurial atmosphere in the UK to rival the successful ecosystems of the US.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “The UK needs a thriving innovation ecosystem. Ian’s gift comes at a time where innovation is key to help drive economic growth in the UK. We are fortunate and grateful to receive his support to invigorate our ability to support SME leaders to develop their skills and leadership to reach their full potential through the Shott Scale Up Accelerator.”

Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “Ian’s significant contribution demonstrates great philanthropic leadership by recognising the need to support SME scale up at this critical time. Through the Shott Scale Up Accelerator, he will inspire the next generation of engineering and technology leaders and founders, as they grow their businesses and contribute to a more prosperous, greener and fairer society.”

Eleven members of the first cohort embark on the programme today:

Dr Alex Groombridge, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Echion Technologies Ltd

Echion Technologies replaces the graphite and lithium titanate anodes currently used in battery cells. Echion’s mixed niobium oxide technology superfast charges lithium-ion battery cells that are safe, reliable and have a long cycle life, which are ideal for a range of applications, from medical devices to commercial electric vehicles.

Dr Alex Groombridge is Echion’s Co-Founder and CTO. Alex joined the Scale Up Accelerator programme in 2021. He hopes that the mentor advice and supporting network will flag up potential pitfalls and help him rapidly scale up the product delivery of his expanding company.

Alan Mosca, Founder and CTO of nPlan Ltd

Large scale infrastructure upgrades are complex and can cost millions, if not billions, of pounds, so nPlan uses machine learning to forecast the duration and risks associated with construction projects. The technology works by collating and studying the world’s largest dataset of previous construction schedules. By examining patterns in historical performance, its machine learning algorithms can predict potential bottlenecks and uncertainty while providing possible solutions and efficiency gains. Now, nPlan is looking to scale up while generating sustainable and growing revenue streams.

Dr Angela de Manzanos, CEO and co-founder of Fa Bio (formerly FungiAlert Ltd)

SponSenZ, patented by Fa Bio (formerly FungiAlert), captures active and dominant microbes directly from the field, isolating and cultivating them faster than existing discovery routes. It identifies microbial biocontrol, biostimulant and biofertilisier candidates, reducing the discovery phase when developing biological products. The company aims to minimise agriculture’s environmental impact while sustainably increasing crop productivity.

Dr Ben Carter, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, CytoSeek

Of the 20 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year worldwide, around 85% consist of solid tumours. Solid tumours are able to resist cell therapy treatments. CytoSeek Ltd, a spin-out from Bristol University, has developed artificial membrane-binding protein technology that will help the next generation of cell therapies to target solid tumours.

Carlton Cummins, Co-Founder and CTO, Aceleron Ltd

Electric vehicle batteries have components that are welded or glued together, making it extremely difficult to take the individual units apart for reuse. Aceleron Ltd manufactures advanced circular economy lithium-ion batteries that can be serviced, maintained and upgraded. Its batteries are put together using patented compression technology that places individual fuel cells into a circuit using a series of removable fasteners so that they can be fixed or replaced.

Daniel Irving, Executive Product Development Manager, Novosound Ltd

Novosound Ltd produces sensors for ultrasonic non-destructive corrosion testing in key industries including energy, aerospace and power generation. Novosound has found a way around existing technology limits by replacing conventional sensor materials with flexible piezoelectric thin-film technology. Its technology can measure corrosion at up to 400° C with regular data capture via cloud computing. Daniel Irving is the Executive Product Development Manager at Novosound.

Jane Theaker, CEO of Kinomica Ltd

Kinomica develops medicines that are patient-personalised and focus on a deep, molecular knowledge of a particular person’s disease. Its bioinformatics platform, KScan®, generates insights into the activities of the cell’s proteins and their complex signalling cascades, especially in cancer. KScan uses a database, patented algorithms and a protein activity ranking method to analyse diseased tissue and identify the best match of drug for each patient.

Dr Leonie Mueck, Chief Product Officer, Riverlane

Quantum computers have the potential to vastly scale up computing power. However, the problem of how hardware and software interact while enabling the best possible performance of a quantum computer has been slowing down this development. Riverlane’s innovative Deltaflow.OS system helps solve this by providing a shared language for applications and quantum hardware development.

Dr Marc Rodriguez-Garcia, Co-Founder, Head of Research, Xampla Ltd

Xampla Ltd has developed the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. The material performs like synthetic polymers, but decomposes naturally and fully, without harming the environment. The company’s aim is to replace everyday single-use plastics like sachets and flexible packaging films as well as the less obvious, such as microplastics within liquids and lotions.

Dr Richard J. E. Taylor, Co-Founder and CTO at Vector Photonics Ltd

Vector Photonics, a University of Glasgow spin-out, has developed photonic crystal surface emitting semiconductor lasers that are low cost, robust, have a broad wavelength range and high power. These have shown potential for internet communications, 5G, LiDAR, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and lots more.

Rudy Benfredj, Co-Founder and CEO, Mendelian Ltd

Worldwide, there are over 6,000 rare diseases that 1 in 17 people will get in their lifetime. Mendelian has developed a methodology for analysing clinical clues across medical healthcare records to speed up diagnosis of rare diseases. The MendelScan algorithm aggregates data, finds patterns and digitises knowledge so the results can be searched and found, speeding up clinicians’ diagnostic capabilities.

Notes for Editors

For more information about the Shott Scale Up Accelerator, see:

Ian Shott CBE FREng:

A prominent entrepreneur, Ian has a strong track record of helping businesses in the engineering and life science sectors transform their approach and improve their vision, ambition, business models, enterprise value and social benefits. He is the Founder and former Executive Chair of contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company ARCINOVA, which he sold to Quotient Sciences in February 2021 and continues as Senior Advisor to the board. Ian is also the Managing Director at investment and advisory firm Shott Trinova, a specialist advisory firm focused on helping organisations accelerate growth and performance improvement in chemicals, engineering, biology, and pharmaceuticals sectors. 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. Ian chaired the UK government’s Leadership Forum for Industrial Biotechnology, was a founding chair of IBiolC and was a Governing Board Member of Innovate UK. He is also a Visiting Professor at Oxford, Nottingham and Newcastle universities, was elected a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow in 2008 and was presented with the Academy’s President’s Medal in 2017 for his outstanding work for the Academy and promoting excellence in engineering.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub supports the UK’s brightest technology and engineering entrepreneurs to realise their potential.

We run three programmes for entrepreneurial engineers at different career stages. Each one offers equity-free funding, an extended programme of mentorship and coaching, and a lifetime of support through connection to an exceptional community of engineers and innovators.

The Enterprise Hub focuses on supporting individuals and fostering their potential in the long term, taking nothing in return. This sets us apart from the usual ‘accelerator’ model. The Enterprise Hub’s programmes last between 6 and 12 months, and all programmes give entrepreneurs lifelong access to an unrivalled community of mentors and alumni.

Our goal is to encourage creativity and innovation in engineering for the benefit of all. By fostering lasting, exceptional connections between talent and expertise, we aim to create a virtuous cycle of innovation that can deliver on this ambition.

The Enterprise Hub was formally launched in April 2013. Since then, we have supported over 220 researchers, recent graduates and SME leaders to start up and scale up businesses that can give practical application to their inventions. We’ve awarded over £8 million in grant funding, and our Hub Members have gone on to raise over £380 million in additional funding.

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.

Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: +44 207 766 0636

E: Jane Sutton

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