Neill quit his job in 2011 to start an engineering firm with his business partner Will Battrick – specializing in ground-breaking graphene technology.
Their company Versarien is valued at £30 million with four different sites and over 75 workers barely after three years.
Graphene is a two-dimensional layer of carbon which could revolutionise manufacturing.
The material is a nanotech form of carbon which is just one atom thick but 200 times stronger than steel and is the highest thermal conductor known to man.
Neill, a father-of-six, said: “We’re pioneering the use of this new material which is looking to be one of the biggest discoveries of the century. The applications are mind-boggling. Contact lenses, computer monitors, flexible TV screens, dental implants, solar cells – the list is endless. We want to be part of the graphene revolution.”
Neill, from Littledean, Gloucestershire, left school at the age of 16 where he went into an apprenticeship. After working for a number of engineering companies, specialising in car parts, Neill decided to set up his own business.
Versarien was founded in 2010 and was run using the businessman’s savings for the first 12 months.
However he was offered a lifeline when the company won a competition and were able to showcase the company at the Conservative Part Conference.
After introducing David Cameron to the concept, Neill secured funding from a number of investors, allowing them to move from their small garage into a 2,000 square foot unit.
The company have since secured three further sites as well as 75 employees.
Neill said that he often has to pinch himself as he feels as though he is living someone else’s life.
He said, “I think, how did we get from a garage to this factory? Hard work and perseverance and knowing where you are going. I like making stuff and being able to create something. Being able to see what you have made at the end of the day is fantastic. To see something you have made and people using it is equally as fantastic. I’d spotted a new technology from the University of Liverpool I became very excited, it was ground-breaking new material. I left my extremely well paid job and founded Versarien.”