The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub has announced that the inventor of a wood substitute building product made from industrial potato waste has been awarded the UK’s most promising young engineering entrepreneur

Rowan Minkley, co-founder and CEO of Chip[s]Board, was awarded the UK’s most promising young engineering entrepreneur by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal.

The event was the final of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub’s fifth annual Launchpad Competition, an initiative set up to encourage more young people to start and grow their own engineering businesses.

23-year-old Minkley was chosen by a panel of experts and business leaders at the forefront of the UK engineering profession, including Elspeth Finch MBE, founder and CEO of IAND and Ian Ritchie CBE FREng, information technology entrepreneur.

Rowan Minkley’s innovation is a wood substitute made from industrial potato waste, designed to be an eco-friendly alternative to MDF. As well as its product features, the judges were particularly impressed with Rowan’s thoughtful and ambitious plan that is founded on the principles of a sustainable circular economy.

He will receive the JC Gammon Award, which provides £15,000 of funding and membership to the Enterprise Hub to kick-start his entrepreneurial career.

Rowan Minkley, co-founder and CEO of Chip[s] Board, said: “It is a real privilege to be this year’s Launchpad Competition winner; it is a fantastic validation of my idea.

“Gaining membership to the Enterprise Hub will give Chip[s] Board a vital financial boost, as well as the mentorship and the expertise to scale up my business.

“I’m both grateful and proud to be joining this network of world-class engineers.”

This year’s event marks five years of the Enterprise Hub supporting young engineering entrepreneurs.

Professor Andy Hopper CBE FREng FRS FIET, chair of judging panel for the Launchpad Competition said: “From my experience, having a great engineering idea just isn’t enough; to successfully scale a company you need the right contacts and business skills to match. Having access to the right kind of training and the vast experience of the Academy’s Fellowship is a truly powerful thing that pays dividends for those starting out.

“The Enterprise Hub is in a unique position give independent and realistic advice to the best entrepreneurial engineers who want to commercialise their world-class ideas and scale their businesses. It is immensely exciting to help entrepreneurs with such promise meet their full potential.

“Congratulations to Rowan, I wish him the best of luck as he embarks on this exciting journey.”

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