Category Archives: Press Releases

Drinks spiking safety cup idea clinches engineering business competition

The winners with the very early demonstration model of the Quench Spike Free Cup

Engineers in Business has awarded nearly £70,000 in prize funds to universities running business innovation competitions as part of their enterprise education for engineering students.

An innovative drinks cup that can alert users if their drink has been spiked with drugs or excess alcohol has claimed top prize in Lancaster University’s engineering student entrepreneurship competition.

The ‘Quench Spike Free Cup’ was chosen as the top business idea as part of the Engineers in Business Fellowship competition. The competition formed part of the undergraduate module ‘Business Development Project’ and involved 135 second-year Engineering students competing in 14 teams.

Dr Allan Rennie, Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University’s Engineering Department and who organised the competition as part of the module he teaches, said: “Undergraduate Engineering students naturally shy away from business and management type modules, preferring the more numerate and technical subjects, however, this particular module, which embeds entrepreneurship and innovation within the curriculum, has gained in popularity in recent years.

“Having taught this module for a number of years, and seeing the diverse range of ideas and skills that the students work hard to develop, skills that they will find invaluable as they progress towards careers as professional engineers, I was keen to provide an opportunity to take these ideas beyond just an academic exercise.

“We were pleased that the Engineers in Business Fellowship also saw the potential in this module, and awarded £3,000 to invest in some of the best business ideas that emerged from the student teams. Real money, to do real things.”

The Quench concept would use coloured detection strips within transparent plastic cups so people could easily see if their drinks have been tampered with.

The winning team, which included Olivia Albrecht, Alexander Cochrane, Nathan Lee, Ahmed Negm, Kelvin Southwell, Jack Bentley, Benoit Ferrand, Alex McGrath, Jaidhish Passary and Daniel Williamson, have been awarded £1,750 prize money.

The prize money, which was provided by the Sainsbury Management Fellows in the form of an ‘Engineers in Business Fellowship’, is to be used to further develop their business idea and prototypes with additional support from Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team at ‘Work in Progress’.

Daniel Williamson said: “The investment rewards gave the module a competitive edge, encouraging greater group engagement and making setting up a business a more appealing route for engineers who hadn’t even considered it. Receiving the money enables our group to gain hands-on experience during the exploration of starting up a business, and an easier path to business success.”

Second place, and a prize of £750, went to Buddyup, an idea for a sports app that would allow users to find sports companions at similar levels of skill and ability within a chosen geographic location.

Third place, and a £500 prize, was awarded to Tech Test, a technology trial service where users can test new technology over short trial periods before committing to buy their own devices.

The final business presentations were judged by an independent panel including: Mo Isap, a board member of the Greater Manchester Enterprise Partnership; Richard Harrison, business owner at Geminus Training; Kursat Celik, an Associate Professor at Akdeniz University in Turkey; and Rachel Cox, Enterprise Education Development Manager at Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team.

Winners were selected based on criteria including their business pitches, the viability of the concepts, as well as consideration of low start-up capital requirements.

David Falzani MBE, President of Engineers in Business Fellowship, said: “Some of the most important global challenges we face in the world today are not just technical challenges but require the ability to link technologies to an understanding of the market mechanism, business skills and entrepreneurial commercial thinking. The EIB prize fund supports universities that give students the opportunity to get a flavour of how business skills and engineering know-how can solve world problems and create wealth for economies.

“We have been impressed with the way in which Lancaster University has enthusiastically integrated the EIB prize into its Second Year Engineering module and inspired such a high calibre of entries and winners. We congratulate each of the winners on their research, creativity and ideas and look forward to supporting the module in the future.”

Simon Harrison, Enterprise Programme Manager at Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team, said: “This is a great example of weaving entrepreneurial learning opportunities into the curriculum around core academic content. As a result, when these students graduate they will already have developed and practised some of the key capabilities employers are looking for – such as creative thinking, collaborative problem-solving and applied commercial awareness.

“They are prepared for leading entrepreneurial projects, or even launching their own ventures, as they gain insights into where the innovation opportunities in their industry lie.”


SMF Awards £50,000 MBA Scholarships to 11 Talented Engineers

SMF has announced the 2018 SMF Scholarship awardees, each of whom has received £50,000 towards their MBA study at a leading international business school:

Awardee Business School
Jonathon Simister LBS
Emmanuel Lawal INSEAD
Jad Abi Esber Harvard
Ian Taylor Stanford
Samir Szamocki INSEAD
Rachel Fitzsimmons INSEAD
Jacob Mills LBS
Meenal Pore INSEAD
Abhishek Morey INSEAD
Jegadeesh Sithamparathas MIT

The Sainsbury Management Fellows scholarship is open to professional engineers who are heading towards business leadership roles – in large organisations or as entrepreneurs – and wish to combine business education and engineering skills to take their careers to new heights.

This year’s 11 scholarship awardees share their thoughts on studying for an MBA, how it will help them fulfil their aspirations to help businesses flourish and make a positive impact on society. They also talk about the benefits of becoming part of the Sainsbury Management Fellowship and their commitment to mentoring young engineers.

SMF works with the Royal Academy of Engineering to select each year’s scholarship awardees and details can be found on the RAEng’s website.  The value of the award recently rose from £30,000 per awardee to £50,000, providing even greater support to successful applicants. Professional engineers who are interested in studying for an MBA at one of the 14 business schools that support the SMF scholarship scheme can register their interest with the SMF Office.

You can read interviews with current and past scholarship awardees.

City, University of London Awards ‘Engineers in Business’ Top Prize to E-Mobility Bike Share Innovators

Bike sharing is an old concept, yet one that is currently enjoying quite the surge in popularity; more active and eco-friendly modes of transport are enjoying something of a renaissance. Unicorn Electrics, a young company comprised of students and recent graduates from City, University of London, have seen an opportunity for development and innovation in this market and in doing so have won the judges over with their vision and invention in the University’s annual City Spark awards.

Engineers in Business
CitySpark is a competition that celebrates and supports student’s business ideas and ventures. Entrants are rewarded for their problem-solving abilities, identification of genuine gaps in the market or consumer need, and the successful conception and building of new start-ups. CitySpark offers an invaluable springboard into the world of business and entrepreneurship. The ‘Engineers in Business Competition Fund’ contributed £3,000 to the University in the hope that engineering talent is encouraged to participate. As a response, CitySpark now has an engineer-specific prize fund, awarded to the group with both the best engineering innovation and a great business plan to boot. This prize is known as the MakerSpark prize, which runs under the CitySpark banner.

As well as the generous monetary award from Engineers in Business (EIB), the winning team is also offered an experienced Sainsbury Management Fellow mentor for guidance and support. On top of this, the team winners are also invited to networking events at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Engineering.  A combination of engineering and business skills are still widely underestimated and under-recognised in the workplace, meaning that much talent still goes unseen and unfulfilled. This is why the EIB puts a lot of energy into promoting competitions such as these, and their winners, in order to showcase the brilliance available and highlight the value of engineering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Unicorn Electrics
And so to this year’s MakerSpark Engineers in Business winner – Unicorn Electrics.   This start-up comprises of four founding members, Ludovico Tessari (BSc Management), Omer Tariq (BSc Management), Anxhelo Zylyftari (MEng Aeronautical Engineering) and Lorenzo Batignani (Meng Mechanical Engineering).   Their idea was forged upon two sets of statistics. One shows an exponential increase in cities with bicycle sharing systems between the year 2001 and 2014; from 4 to nearly 900 cities in 13 years. The other piece of data shows the current size of the global electric bicycle market is nearly $16 billion. This size is set to expand to around $25 billion by 2025.

The Unicorn Electric team has used this information to create a hybrid to fill the market gap. They have designed and built a lightweight, durable and long-lasting electric bicycle, with a charging station and full-service package included as part of the sellable service.  Called E-Mobility, the bike system has wide applications and will be targeted at the private and B2C (hotels, resorts, residential developments) sectors as well as university campuses and the corporate sector.

Unicorn Electric aims to increase excitement about, and use of, low emission transportation, remove the hassle of actually owning a bicycle and to make cycling both easier and more accessible as a leisure activity.  Not only is their product exceptional, their business plan solid, and their projections impressive, but their endeavour encapsulates everything that the MakerSpark Engineers in Business award aims to promote. It is recognisable yet innovative, simple yet complex, obvious yet unique. E-Mobility Bike is both forward-thinking and still manages to be at the crest of the wave of what is currently popular and on trend; just ahead of the curve.

How Unicorn Electric Got There?
So, how did this team get together? How did the University and this competition support them to bring this concept to fruition? Well, Ludovico and Omer met on their course and immediately found common ground through their shared entrepreneurial mindset. They workshopped many business ideas and marketable products before landing on the electrical bicycle idea. Ludovico met Anxhelo and Lorenzo at a networking event put on by the University. They got talking about the concept and were immediately enthused; offering ideas, improvements and features not yet considered. Inspired by this, and struck by the idea that they could have their very own engineers on board; Ludovico formed the team of four.

Business had always been a passion for Ludovico. Like many young entrepreneurs, he began selling his wares at school, in his case selling branded hoodies. Because of this thirst for business, Unicorn Electrics already had an element of experience and a little funding behind it. Ludovico managed to give the business the kick-start it needed through funds from previous e-commerce ventures. Anxelo and Lorenzo also had business backgrounds, having been involved in various app-launches.  Already a strong and knowledgeable team which built on these foundations

As a result of winning the MakerSpark Engineers in Business prize and the various experiences and mentorships they have had, the E-Mobility Bike venture has gone from strength to strength. Despite their obvious flare and significant experience for their age, the team state that they have taken away a lot from the process of the competition and learnt some big lessons that they will never forget. Here are their most significant takeaways, as stated by Ludovico for the team:

  1. Always have a can-do attitude. When developing something new, it’s easy to stop doing something with the fear that it has never been done before. We learned to stop having invisible walls when creating something and developed innovative ideas to solve problems.
  1. Execution matters. Always having new ideas is great, but if not properly executed, they’re useless.
  1. Never stop learning. Being lazy is not an option when working in an innovative company.

What Is Next for Unicorn Electrics?
The company has just completed the prototype E-Mobility Bike. At this point, they are making minor adjustments to the product. They are in talks with a residential development company in East London which is extremely interested in serving as a pilot client. Unicorn Electric also aims to develop other bikes and upgrade the system in years’ to come. The company is on its way to some real commercial success, and its founders have no intention of stopping any time soon.

Without the University’s MakerSpark competition it is unlikely, even with the team’s passion, that this venture would be taking off with nearly as much velocity as it is! Ludovico said, “The support and mentoring offered is priceless, and the visibility and validation that comes as part of the competition’s visibility is aiding the successful acquisition of clients and fast company growth considerably. Awards and programmes such as this are an essential platform for young engineering and entrepreneurial talent.”

Alex Elkins, Head of Entrepreneurship at City, is really excited to see where Unicorn Electrics goes from here. The company is just one of the many extraordinary ideas that were competing for the award. ‘The launch of the MakerSpark Award has galvanised an impressive jump in both the quality and number of business ideas entered by our engineering students’ Alex says. “The EIB support has been instrumental in launching this award, we are very happy to have had the opportunity to establish this partnership and we are eager to see who will be the winners this year!”

Find out more about Engineers in Business competition funding for universities and FE colleges.

13% Fall in the Use of Hard Hats

In a year when institutions, firms and the Government are working hard to change the image of engineering careers through the This is Engineering campaign, Sainsbury Management Fellows’ 2018 Hard Hat Index reports a 13% drop in the use of hard hats in the engineering media compared to the 2017 Index.

Big Fall Comes from Advertising
Comparing the 2018 Hard Hat Index with 2017’s Index, a big fall has come from advertisements, with a 31% decline in the publication of hard hat images. The 2017 Hard Hat Index recorded 129 adverts depicting engineering careers, courses, innovation, products and services using hard hat images compared to this year’s Index which features just 89 such images – the lowest in four years.

Royal Academy of Engineering Says…
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering said: “The classic shorthand image of an engineer as someone in a hard hat perpetuates a narrow view of what is, in fact, a very varied profession. If we are going to address the persistent skills and diversity shortfall in the profession it is really important that we show what engineers really look like, and while some engineers necessarily wear hard hats, many do not. We want people to know about the exciting variety of opportunities that exist within the field of engineering, and encourage young people from all backgrounds to explore the different options that are available.  That is why we are running a campaign to reach teenagers called This is Engineering, which paints a very broad picture of engineering  to challenge students’ perceptions of what an engineer is and does.”

Editorial Moving in Right Direction
In 2017 the Hard Hat Index showed an impressive fall of almost 20% in the use of hard hats in editorials (from 158 in 2016  down to 127 in 2017) but that success has been slightly dented in the 208 Index by an increase of six (4.5%) hard hats featured in editorials.

Long-Term Trend
Despite this year’s blip in the editorial figures, long-term the fall in the use of hard hats to depict engineering is moving in the right direction. Comparing the 2018 and 2015 Indexes, the current Index shows positive results – an 11% decline in hard hats used in editorial and nearly 17% fall in the use of hard hats in adverts.

David Falzani MBE, President of Sainsbury Management Fellows said: “Many engineering publications have run articles about This is Engineering’s endeavours to re-brand the image of engineering to attract much-needed talent into our profession.  The campaign eliminates stereotypical images and instead uses thought-provoking images and messages with the aim of stimulating greater interest in diverse engineering careers. It will be a huge achievement if these messages penetrate corporate advertising and editorial and result in even fewer hard hat images being published next year.”

Computer Sciences Student Makes a Spark with an ‘Autism App’

Computer Sciences student Yamin Miah (Mohamed) has won a £1,000 cash prize as a finalist in City, University of London’s MakerSpark business ideas competition for creating an ingenious app, BubbleMind, for autistic children to use at home or at school.

BubbleMind helps autistic children to feel calm if they become stressed during their day to day life. The personal version of the app works by pressing a button on a digital device which then plays a calming musical note and colourful bubbles appear on the screen.

The educational version of BubbleMind is based on the same concept but also features learning elements.  Instead of only playing a musical note when the button is pressed, it speaks a number or a letter of the alphabet.  For example, if the user presses the button numbered 5, BubbleMind will say five out loud and produce the colourful bubbles onscreen.

Yamin was privileged to be able to trial BubbleMind with a pupil with severe autism at Starks Field School in Edmonton, London.  The pupil used the app on Yamin’s laptop with positive feedback from the student and the teacher.

Yamin was one of 45 students who took part in City, University of London’s engineering student-focused MakerSpark Competition, a new component in its hugely successful City Spark business ideas and venture creation competition which attracts a huge number of entries from students across the university who vie for a share of the £25,000 prize money!  City Spark and MakerSpark competitions inspire students and recent alumni to develop innovative ideas, test them with potential customers and go on to develop their ideas if they so wish.

MakerSpark is sponsored by the charity Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) which also awards the Sainsbury Management Fellows MBA scholarship to talented young engineers.  The EIBF competition fund was piloted three years ago and expanded greatly this year to allow universities all over the UK to bid for £3,000 towards cash prizes for the most enterprising ideas in their business innovation competitions or electives.  The aim is to increase participation of engineers in business competitions – this enhances their learning, knowledge and employability.  While not a requirement for funding, some of these innovative concepts may go on to become real businesses.

Universities use the Engineers in Business prize fund to inspire more engineering students and graduates to become involved in their competitions.  Yamin said: “I learned so much from taking part, especially around planning, pitching and sales.  I learned that planning is essential not only to ensure that each aspect of development was completed before moving onto the next step, but I also needed to ensure that I knew all the steps that need to be taken to complete a certain task.  The other element was to think about contingencies in case things didn’t pan out as I expected.

 Participating in MakerSpark helped me to present my ideas to people and gave me the confidence to speak in front of hundreds of people.  It has also developed my presentation skills and I’m sure this will help me pitch ideas to people in my future career.

The other big lesson was how to sell to customers and convince them to purchase my product.  A key thing that I learned is to create a great backstory to let people know why I invented the product.  This shows that I’m passionate about my invention.”

An integral part of MakerSpark is the support participants received from university staff and entrepreneurs who provide guidance and mentoring.  Yamin said: “Support from the organisers was excellent.  Not only was I entering individually rather than as part of a team; I was the youngest competitor so I was nervous and lacking in confidence.  Marius Stancu, the Enterprise Education Projects Officer, helped me plan for my pitch; he told me what I should include and how I should present my ideas.   Alex Elkins, Head of Entrepreneurship, helped me remain calm and made sure that my pitch was ready and perfect.  They were always willing to meet to discuss ideas and issues.”

Yamin will use his £1,000 prize for further development.  The judges advised him to focus on one thing at a time; to set achievable expectations, and to gather scientific evidence, not just anecdotal evidence, that shows that BubbleMind works effectively because this will help him to sell the app.

Yamin concluded: “Taking part in MakerSpark has given me the confidence to launch my business, the fact that I was able to test my ideas and see that people loved my ideas has motivated me to launch the BubbleMind business. Also, I can add this valuable experience to my list of achievements on my CV which will help me stand out when applying for jobs.”

David Falzani, President of Engineers in Business Fellowship said: “We’re delighted to have supported CitySpark.  The team at the university put a great deal of energy into promoting the competition to its Mathematical & Computer Sciences and Engineering students.  Their success is evident in the fact that they had a 114% increase in students from these departments taking part in the competition.  The university has helped to increase participation of engineers in business education, which is EIBF’s raison d’être.  We look forward to receiving an application for funding for MakerSpark 2019.”

Find out more about Engineers in Business competition funding for universities and FE colleges.

Computer sciences and tech engineers can apply for a £50,000 MBA Scholarship

The Sainsbury Management Fellows (SMF) scholarship is now open to computer sciences and technology professionals, who can now apply for a £50,000 scholarship for MBA study at the world’s leading business schools.   The aim is to support more professionals who want to take their career into entrepreneurship or business leadership.

Historically, the SMF scholarship scheme has been for working engineers who want to become business leaders and entrepreneurs, but the eligibility has been expanded to include disciplines such as physics and computer sciences.

Each year, ten applicants will be awarded £50,000 each towards MBA studies at one of 14 international business schools, including Harvard, Stanford, LBS and INSEAD.  Learn more here.

To date over £8 million in scholarships have been awarded to engineers. The SMF scholarship applications are managed by the Royal Academy of Engineering in conjunction with SMF and applications should be made to the RAEng via its website.



SMFs Mentor Engineering Movers & Shakers

Sainsbury Management Fellows have been mentoring talented young engineers for over 30 years and we are delighted to announce that Chetan Kotur, who has been mentored by SMF Adam Bazire for many years, is one of five engineers to win a RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year prize.  Awarded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the winners are awarded £3,000 each for making an outstanding impact in their field early in their career.

Adam Bazire met Chetan in 2009 when he became his mentor for the RAEng’s Engineering Leadership Scholarship (formerly the Engineering Leadership Awards).  Adam said: “From my first meeting with Chetan it was clear that he was destined to be a significant individual within the world of automotive engineering, and an outstanding advocate for engineering generally. My observations over the subsequent nine years have reinforced this opinion. It’s wonderful news that he has been recognised as a Young Engineer of the Year.”

Chetan is currently working at the forefront of the automotive industry as the CEO’s Assistant at Polestar, a Volvo electric car startup that he helped launch at the end of 2017 in Shanghai. Following his passion for cars, Chetan uniquely combines creative flair, design skills and deep engineering understanding.  He is rapidly emerging as a bright, dynamic and driven future leader in the automotive industry.

At age 16, Chetan faced a career dilemma, between following his family’s tradition of studying medicine or pursuing his interest in designing cars. After being selected for the Channel 4 documentary Vocation, Vocation, Vocation, he chose to follow his passion for cars.  He excelled academically, achieving a first-class degree in Automotive Engineering from Loughborough University.

Having secured a place on the Volvo Cars Global Graduate Programme, Chetan progressed quickly as a Studio Engineer designing new cars.  He has led the design of autonomous vehicle projects for Volvo and worked on the development of the company’s first autonomous steering and braking safety system.  He also presented Volvo’s future technology strategy to Swedish Governmental Authorities – ensuring funding for cross-industry technology development.

Chetan promotes STEM activities in the North East to help inspire the next generation of engineers.  He founded the Future Engineers Scheme at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, which over the last five years has given over 200 students a head start in engineering.  He was also awarded an Engineering Leadership Advanced Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, allowing him to travel the world developing leadership skills. Five years on, Chetan continues to support and mentor a boy he met in a Rio de Janeiro, Favela who dreams of becoming a car designer.

To read the full story on all the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year winners, visit the Royal Academy of Engineering’s website.


Innovative Engineers Win Top Level Business Mentors

We are delighted to announce the winners of our Mentor30Engineers Competition.   To mark the 30th anniversary of the Sainsbury Management Fellows Scholarship scheme, we launched Mentor30Engineers to give engineers the opportunity to be mentored by a Sainsbury Management Fellow (SMF) for up to 30 hours over 3 years of their university study or early career.

We challenged student and qualified engineers to create brand new ideas to solve some of society’s toughest problems across five areas – the environment, healthcare, social care, financial planning and corporate taxation.  This was a no-holds-barred competition – there were no constraints on entrants’ thinking; we were seeking bold, imaginative ideas.

We were not disappointed – the judges were impressed with the blue sky thinking of 14 candidates who have all be awarded 30 hours of mentoring from a Sainsbury Management Fellow (SMFs).  SMFs are professional engineers and highly-experienced business leaders who are passionate about mentoring young engineers to help them fulfil their career ambitions and to go on to develop solutions to challenging problems.

Here, we showcase the winners: five graduate engineers from the Universities of Sheffield, Southampton, Nottingham and Bath, and nine undergraduate engineers from Imperial College London and the Universities of Loughborough, Warwick, Bristol and Durham.

Winner Course/Job Title University/Company
Fejiro Amam Mechanical Engineering Loughborough
Vivek Babu MEng, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Warwick
Leah Edwards MEng, Mechanical Engineering Loughborough
Daniella Franklin MEng, Product Design Engineering Loughborough
Alberto Garcia Matachana MEng, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Imperial College
Adam Honnywill Engineering Design with Study in Industry Bristol
Ben Kelley Tunnel Engineer Ove Arup & Partners
Zoe Mabo MEng, Electronic Engineering Durham
Areeb Siddiqi PhD in Chemical Engineering Bath
Francesco Zeneli Engineering Design Bristol
Alan Middup International Graduate Trainee Halma plc
Matt Parkes Mechanical Engineering Loughborough
James Rogers Stress Engineer Rolls Royce
Flavia Villarroel MSc in Sustainable energy and Entrepreneurship Nottingham

A summary of each winner’s essay is featured below, with the full essays being available as PDF downloads.

Fejiro Amam is a first-year BEng Mechanical Engineering (Hons) student at Loughborough University. He hopes to use the mentorship with SMF Conor Hanley, Director at Biancamed to gain as much insight as possible into the world of business and engineering and obtain the skills required to succeed in the industry.

 Essay Synopsis – Reducing hospital waiting times: Fejiro’s idea is implemented by having a central operating system which manages the affairs of the hospital and controls transmission of data to various personnel in the hospital. As soon as an injury occurs, data is collected by a paramedic or the person reporting the incident and used to build a patient profile which the operating system communicates to the relevant hospital departments and personnel depending on the severity and type of the injury, so that the hospital is ready to receive the patient even before his or her arrival; thereby significantly reducing the waiting time at the hospital. Read full essay

Vivek Suresh Babu is currently a second-year undergraduate at the University of Warwick studying Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering (predicted first class). He has secured a summer internship at Rolls-Royce in Civil Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering. He has also been nominated to study abroad in Singapore for the third year of his MEng degree. Vivek plans to use the mentoring opportunity with SMF Nikhil Amin, Head of Amazon Business UK, Marketplace, to acquire business acumen and develop leadership skills. He hopes to work in consulting in the future, with a focus on strategy and operations. 

Essay Synopsis –Food waste and supply-chain optimisation enhancing production efficiencies via agriculture 4.0 and digital farming: Vivek suggested that farmers in developing countries should make use of Agriculture 4.0 technologies; crop production efficiencies would increase, consequently decreasing the volume of waste at the start of the supply-chain. He devised a strategy where drones, smart sensors, AI and data analytics could be combined to create an automated supply-chain. Through digital farming, profits are maximised for both producers and retailers, while negative environmental effects (ie amount of fuel, water and pesticide used) are reduced. Read full essay

Leah Edwards is studying for a MEng Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University, to graduate in 2019. She looks forward to working with her mentor SMF Simon Hughes, who is Chief Commercial Officer of Green Energy Options, and hopes to benefit from his guidance on professional development and advancement to help achieve her future business aspirations.

Essay Synopsis – Protecting the environment for the future: Leah proposes a carbon emissions labelling system for food packaging. She came up with the idea as she struggled to compare the impact of different foods on the environment, believing that access to the data would allow the consumer to make a more informed choice. In addition, she speculates that with veganism becoming more mainstream, people are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their diet and that carbon emissions labelling would help the message reach a wider audience. It would also hold food companies accountable for their carbon footprint across the supply chain and encourage innovation in this area. Read full essay

Daniella Franklin is due to graduate from Loughborough University in the summer of 2018 with a degree in MEng Product Design Engineering, she is also a current participant in the International Engineering  UNITECH program. She intends to use her mentoring with SMF Busola Banjo, CEO* Program Associate at Siemens, to discover how she values herself as an engineer and to gain a better understanding of her future career opportunities. 

Essay Synopsis – Meeting the care needs of an ageing population:  Daniella’s proposal highlights a potential idea that could help society with the care needs of the older growing population. The idea focuses on finding a way to engage the older population of over 80s with the retired population aged between 65 – 79 years. The unclaimed capital that the retired population possess is being wasted, by developing a platform that helps connect the older generations over common interests will help claim some of the capital lost in the retired population. This is because their time will be spent helping the older population and themselves stay mentally healthier for longer through social interactions. The idea is to develop a national platform that the older generations can use safely on a local level. The platform uses a specially design algorithm to virtually connects people together, based on common interests or hobbies and their proximity to each other. This platform provides a way to easily gather data on the older population which can be used by the government to better understanding the needs of these populations. Read full essay

Alberto Garcia Matachana is a MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering undergraduate at Imperial College London. Alberto’s dream is to have his own company in the future. His technical knowledge is getting shaped step by step at Imperial, so he will take advantage of his mentoring with SMF Adam Bazire, Director at RAMSO to broaden his business discipline knowledge which will help him achieve his dream.

Essay synopsis – Tackling/reducing hospital waiting times: Alberto’s idea makes use of blockchain technology for reducing the NHS’s waiting times. To tackle the problem, each patient will have a persistent ID on the blockchain containing their personal information and medical record. On the other hand, the NHS would record the type and number of possible interventions within a specific period. Interestingly we can connect different blockchain networks to build a new one. This ultimate ledger would contain the surgery order (i.e. waiting list). This system, apart from offering security and privacy due to blockchain’s decentralised nature, it will also bring impartiality since anyone trying to corrupt the waiting list would need to do a considerable amount of triangulating of data.  Read full essay.

Adam Honnywill is an undergraduate at the University of Bristol, studying MEng Engineering Design with Study in Industry. He looks forward to his mentoring with SMF Simon Fowles, BT, to explore career options and gain insight on industry engineering practices.

Essay Synopsis – Heaven on earth – virtual retirement: Adam’s essay is an extrapolation of cutting-edge technology; a futuristic idea that the elderly can inhabit virtual realities to solve the issues associated with an ageing population. Whereas present-day solutions to these issues have heavy costs to society or provide inadequate care to the elderly, Adam outlines a radical solution that both cuts costs and improves the elderly’s care. Read full essay.

Ben Kelley graduated from the University of Southampton in 2015 with a first class honours degree in MEng Civil Engineering, and is now a tunnel engineer at Ove Arup & Partners in London. He intends to use his mentoring with  SMF Peter Young, a Director at Arup, to develop his engineering career and consider options for a business education to achieve his leadership potential.

Essay Synopsis – Ensuring major corporations pay their fair share of taxes: Ben’s proposes that we collect corporation tax on a firm’s UK profits, calculated by multiplying UK revenue (£) by global profitability (%). He identified that the growing digital economy makes assigning revenues to a geographic region very difficult and therefore proposed government licenses to mine data from UK citizens, in the same way as traditional mining of raw materials. In addition, he discussed if the data residency of servers could be used as a geographic basis for taxation, highlighting that this could create tax havens for data centres.  Read full essay.

Areeb Siddiqi graduated from the University of Bath in 2017 with a first class honours degree in MEng Chemical Engineering, and will be starting his PhD in Chemical Engineering in October at Bath.  He intends to use his mentoring with SMF Simon Bonini (Consultant at Muse, Stancil & Co), to discuss how to combine his technical skill-set with industrial awareness. 

Essay Synopsis – Protecting the environment – rising population creating an ever-growing need: Areeb’s idea to protect the environment from the ever-growing need of a rising population is to create a new production methodology for non-toxic and more environmentally-friendly surfactant chemicals, by pairing computational modelling with experimental validation via synthesis and toxicity analysis. He noted that differences in results between the simulations and laboratory testing is commonly due to limitations in the former.  He proposed that collaborative work between leading academics should be encouraged, where experimental validation from one department can feedback to a team working on the novel simulation methodology. The results would form a database relating surfactant structures with toxicity. Read full essay.

Francesco Zeneli began studying Engineering Design at the University of Bristol in 2017.   Francesco is looking forward to working with his mentor SMF Henning von Spreckelsen, Chief Executive at Shere Investment, to learn about entrepreneurship which he believes is one way to make a big impact on people’s lives for the better. He hopes to learn what it takes to create a successful start-up.

 Essay Synopsis – Tackling hospital waiting times: A way of solving the increase of waiting times in the NHS would be incorporating artificial intelligence and robots into hospitals. Artificial intelligence can analyse the patient’s medical records and alert doctors when a disease is in its initial stages, so it will be easier to treat therefore saving time. Robots can support doctors or nurses by treating patients with minor issues leaving staff to help people in need of more urgent attention.  Read full essay.

Alan Middup graduated from the University of Sheffield with a first class honours degree in MEng Mechanical Engineering and is now a graduate trainee at Halma plc, a FTSE100 technology company. He intends to use his mentoring with SMF Mike Astell, Director, Furness Petroleum to pursue chartership, discuss career options postgraduate scheme and identify potential opportunities in the energy industry.

Essay Synopsis – Value from waste – a data-driven solution: Alan’s proposal aims to tackle the global plastic waste problem by assigning value to waste via type and location data, and creating a digital marketplace to match demand with supply. Data relating to types and amounts of plastic would be stored in a product’s barcode and added to a consumer’s app-based account on purchase. This data would be available to recycling companies, giving them visibility of their entire waste supply chain and facilitating higher value reuse and recycling. Consumers would be incentivised via the app to separate waste types and reduce their packaging consumption, thus creating a value chain, driving a circular economic solution. Read full essay.

Matt Parkes is a Mechanical Engineering student returning to university after a placement year at TTP in Cambridge. He is expecting to be graduating from Loughborough University in 2020 with a MEng. He is focused on finding positions in his early career in which he adds real value and working with his mentor SMF Simon Bolton, CEO at Waterlogic International, to develop and prepare himself for career progression into business roles within STEM.

Essay Synopsis – Protecting the environment for the future -perched plastic aquifers:  Matt’s idea to optimise monsoon rains in arid areas of developing countries is based on using the waste of that region to construct a homegrown solution to water shortage. An impermeable waste plastic composite would be used to line a carefully positioned hole, creating a seasonally replenishing man-made ‘perched’ aquifer that supports a community’s water needs. The aquifers boast the potential to have significantly higher water quality than surface water sources. He identified northern China as an area in which these aquifers could prevent the use of heavily polluted water sources and save lives. Read full essay.

Flavia Villarroel graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2017 with a distinction in MSc Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship. She also attained a BSc Civil Engineering (2006) and an MSc Geotechnical Engineering (2009), both from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She is currently establishing a startup in the Urban Farming Sector, Super Health Foods Ltd, to gain more experience in the technologies and make the device viable in a near future. Seeking to take her passion into reality, she is hoping the mentorship with SMF Tom Delay, CEO at the Carbon Trust can help her overcome the challenges of launching a company that focuses on sustainable ways of producing food.

Essay Synopsis – Protecting the environment for the future: Flavia’s proposal is to develop an affordable, standalone, family-sized device for fresh food production. The equipment would be able to sustainably produce fish, mushrooms and vegetables without any outside matters, anywhere in the world. This system would combine aquaponics, for vegetable growth and fish culture, and a compartment for mushrooms growth, providing important nutritional elements. The system would be fully sustainable via artificial lighting and basic sensors, powered by photovoltaic panels and battery storage. This solution would decentralize food production, allowing more families to have access to good quality food, whilst reducing the reliance on transport and packaging. Read full essay.

James Rogers graduated from Loughborough University in 2016 with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering. He is now a stress engineer at Rolls-Royce Submarines in Derby. He intends to use his mentoring with SMF Rob Gill, EAME Business Development at Advisian Worley Parsons, to develop his engineering career and consider options for his future education as well while growing his leadership potential.

Essay Synopsis: How government/regulators can meet their obligation to educate the public on financial management so that members of the public budget for their needs over their lifetime: James’ proposal to ensure that people budget for the entirety of their lives is to use artificial intelligence (AI) designed to help a person reach their long-term financial goals (house deposits, retirement funds etc).  The AI would analyse the person’s current position and find a route to achieving the goals set through habit creation by making adjustments to a person’s environment through tools such as social media. The challenge to this is not just the technical challenge of making a system that is effective, but the ethics. Having AI form and mould habits into a population may go against some of the values held dear, such as free will. Read full essay.

Zoe Mabo, MEng Electronic Engineering, University of Durham developed an idea to tackle social care needs Read full essay. Zoe will be mentored by SMF Nick Sullivan, MD and Co-founder of Heritage Independent Living.

Zoe is pictured with SMFs Charles Sudborough  (left)and Taha Dar (right) at the SMF Annual Dinner on 10 May 2018.

Eight other Mentor30Engineers winners attended the SMF Annual Dinner.  They are pictured with SMF President David Falzani MBE.

SMF Appointed to the Small Business Charter Management Board


We are delighted to announce that SMF Henning von Spreckelsen has joined the Small Business Charter Management Board.

Henning has worked in senior management positions in companies large and small, with experience in chemicals, plastics and packaging as well as having founded several companies. He is currently an investor, adviser and NED to a number of companies, in industries from marine lighting to recycled plastic waste to foreign exchange to digital metadata and is a trustee of the Engineers in Business Fellowship.

This announcement first appeared on the Small Business Charter website. 

Kingston University Awards ‘Engineers in Business’ Prizes to Students with Very Bright Ideas

Bright Ideas Winner, Bettina Gardasz with Sainsbury Mangement Fellow Ian Peerless, one of the competition judges.

A household concept of opening doors with just a button; a wireless button that can be programmed to perform any computer keyboard command, a set of table legs that can be applied to any flat surface to make a table, and wireless turning indicators for bicycles, mobility scooters and pedal-powered rickshaws to improve the relationship with road users are the winners and runners-up in the Engineers in Business category of Bright Ideas – a Dragons Den-style competition run by Kingston University.

This year, 650 participants applied and 120 students were selected to go forward to the grand final including the competitors for the Engineers in Business prize.  Forty-three judges and business experts heard a wide variety of creative pitches from students as they competed for up to £1,000 each to help them turn their innovative concepts into a business reality.

The Engineers in Business prizes, sponsored by  Sainsbury Management Fellows, included a prize of £1,000 towards developing an idea as well as additional training, networking and prototyping for the winner, with runners-up receiving £250.

Engineers in Business First Prize Winners

The Future is an Open Door

Bettina Gardasz, a second year BSc Business Management, presented the Future is an open door – a unique idea for opening doors with only one button, a concept aimed at people with disabilities.

During her research, Bettina learned that there are over 1.2 million wheelchair users in the UK and this number is rising every year.Wheelchair users face great challenges with mobility within their homes because the widths of wheelchairs tend to be wider than standard doorways.  Because of this, people have to make adaptations to their homes to facilitate a wider passage.  As a result, many households do not have physical interior doors. It is difficult for a disabled person to open and close a standard manual door. The lack of privacy can be emotionally daunting, especially if more than one person lives in the same property.

Bettina’s solution to this problem is a sliding interior electronic door and can be operated with only a button (sketch 1).  The sliding door would be installed with special mechanics which can be easily controlled remotely.  The door would automatically open and close with one click.

There are a few remote control concepts (see sketch 2) that would help users to easily operate doors.  A simple remote control[1], a bracelet remote control[2], a device which can be embedded into the wheelchair[3] and a wall mounted button[4] similar to a light switch.  In addition, the door could also be equipped with a motion sensor for much easier entry.

Bettina takes up her story, “During the competition, I received valuable feedback from the mentors and the judges.  I learnt how to clearly identify the main beneficiaries of the product and develop my business model using the Business Model Canvas.

“The judges suggested building a prototype of the product.   I would like to build my team with dedicated, bright people and find professionals who can help me with this project.  My mentors also advised me to build a brand and image which represents the business and its value proposition.  I will be working on both these recommendations over the next few months.

“My aim is to commercialise the sliding door, as I strongly believe that it would help thousands of people with disabilities that are challenged by building structures on a daily basis.  Although the start-up costs for these kinds of projects can be high, I am looking for opportunities which will help me fund my business idea and turn it into a real enterprise.  I believe in corporate social responsibility and I see it as a great opportunity for my business to put this into practice. I believe that the “Future is an open door” and we can all enter in with a little faith and courage!”

The StiKEY Solution
Judge Malcolm Paul, Kingston Alumni, Chartered Accountant and a member of the Kingston Enterprise Circle with members of the StiKEY team –  Gabriel Dransfield and Samuel Eady, Department of Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering.

Another first prize winner was the StiKEY team.  Aerospace engineering students Gabriel Dransfield, Sam Eady, James Richardson and Joe Doyle created StiKEY – a small wireless button that can be programmed to perform any computer keyboard command and can stick to any surface.  Gabriel, a third-year aerospace engineering, astronautics and space technology student, explained how the whole experience of Bright Ideas has improved their entrepreneurial skills and understanding of business.

“I had the idea for StiKEY when I realised how inconvenient it was to pause Netflix,” he said. “The University, through its Enterprise team, has offered us great opportunities to refine presentation techniques, improve our understanding of business planning and network with successful entrepreneurs to gain further contacts and guidance.

“We would like to use the prize to develop our business plan further and continue using the expert knowledge that Enterprise provides us with to move forward and get the business off the ground.”

The Bright Ideas Runners-up of the  Engineering in Business Prize:

SMF Ian Peerless, a judge in the competition with the PIKS team members who designed a set of table legs that can be applied to any flat surface to make a table: Charlie Jeffries, 3rd-year graphic design undergraduate, Jay Daniells, Ieuan Lewis and Harry Hobbs.
Runners-up, the WIU, team members who developed the idea of wireless turning indicators for bicycles, mobility scooters and pedal-powered rickshaws to improve the relationship with the road users: Arturas Gulevskis, (Sec Research Chemical, Process & Energy Engineering) and 
Julia Kurola (MSc Aerospace Engineering).
Enterprising Kingston University

Kingston University applied to run the Engineers in Business Competition in 2017, allowing the Enterprise Education team to broaden the Bright Ideas competition and devote prizes to engineering students and engineer-led ideas.

Head of Enterprise Education at Kingston University Dr Martha Mador, “Our students never fail to exceed expectations with their entrepreneurial spirit and desire to create and innovate.

“Everybody who entered this year should be really proud of their efforts and we hope they will continue to develop their ideas and dreams and see where it can take them. Here at Kingston University, we support all our students who want to create or develop a business model around an idea through mentoring, coaching, and creating networking and funding opportunities. Bright Ideas is a fantastic competition that incorporates all of these aspects of our work.”

Engineers in Business – Open to Universities and Further Education Institutions.

The Engineers in Business competition was created to increase the level of participation in business courses and business competitions by engineering undergraduates and graduates, giving them the opportunity gain more commercial education.

The Engineers in Business competition focuses on business innovation and works with universities and FE institutions that have existing competitions or elective modules for engineering students.    The competition offers each HEI/FEI a £3,000 prize fund, mentoring and promotional support.  Visit this page for further information on Engineers in Business.

SMF would like to thank Kingston University for original text featured in this article.