Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership (MCIL)

 Delivered by Keele University’s Business Gateway, the Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership (MCIL) programme supports aspirational business leaders, and early stage and aspiring entrepreneurs. Through dedicated one-to-one coaching and the development of an innovation-focussed action plan for your business, providing leadership qualities to help your business innovate and grow. The programme is fully-funded and open to small-to-medium sized businesses in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.


ERDF landscape logo The Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership programme is delivered through the Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (project reference: 32R17P01691). This programme is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme. 

Get in touch today: | 01782 733001 

Through this fully-funded Innovation Leadership programme, business leaders and entrepreneurs can benefit from:

• Six two-day sessions of facilitated group learning, led by academics and expert business leaders
• A dedicated Entrepreneur in Residence to provide coaching, advice and guidance on a one-to-one basis
• A unique blend of action learning, including one-to-one sessions, peer review, activity-based learning, creative challenge-based activity and self-directed learning
• Development, implementation and a review of a practical, innovation-focussed action plan for your business
• Access to the latest thinking around innovation and social value, specific masterclasses and a unique innovation eco-system.

Click dealer

"MCIL has been a totally positive experience. We’ve covered so much and, as well as some of the tactical elements, it’s helped me define our mission and goals as a company, so there are strong enduring benefits"

Ollie Moxham, Director, Click Dealer

Read more
  • 14-15 May 2020
  • 4–5 June 2020
  • 25–26 June 2020
  • 16–17 July 2020
  • 3-4 September 2020
  • 1-2 October 2020

Apply for Cohort 3 Today 

Please complete the Expression of Interest form (available below) and send it to

  • 7-8 November 2019
  • 5-6 December 2019
  • 16-17 January 2020
  • 6-7 February 2020
  • 5-6 March 2020
  • 2-3 April 2020
  • 9-10 May 2019
  • 6-7 June 2019
  • 4-5 July 2019
  • 8-9 August 2019
  • 12-13 September 2019
  • 10-11 October 2019


The programme is open to the leaders of small to medium-sized businesses, early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial social innovators. These individuals must be looking to develop products and services, achieve scalable routes to market and achieve strategic business growth. Applicants must be an owner, director or employee of a registered business in the Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire area.


  • Dedicated time to focus on innovation and R&D as a strategic driver for your business growth
  • Apply world-leading research and knowledge on innovation leadership in order to produce a positive impact on your business’s bottom line
  • Access to the wide scientific and technological infrastructure of Keele University
  • Be part of a unique innovation network
  • Learn from fellow hand-picked entrepreneurs and social innovators


The programme is fully funded – the only cost is your time.

How to apply

Applications from prospective programme participants are now being welcomed. Please complete the Expression of Interest form (available below) and send it to

For more information on the opportunities available, please contact one of the Business Gateway team:

Expression of Interest form

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Information sheet - Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership

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