Keele programme sets engineering company on path to growth

Thanks to a unique leadership programme from Keele University, Stoke-based EMS Industries now has ambitions to double in size.

Employing 29 people, EMS makes ram pumps - machines that can reliably pump semi-solids in volume.  Associate Director of Operations Joe Meakin manages the company on a day-to-day basis. He’s the leader so an innovation leadership programme sounded spot on, and Joe found joining Keele’s Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership (MCIL)* really easy.  What’s more, it’s fully-funded, so while the part-time programme demands commitment from participants, there’s no fee to pay.

The experience has prompted Joe to update his marketing and re-assess the company’s unique selling proposition and brand positioning as well as introducing a new website and activating social media.  But MCIL has provided much more than management tools.  Joe believes it will help him take the business to a new level.

A key ingredient has been the input of a highly experienced coach in the form of Entrepreneur in Residence Professor Carolyn Roberts.  Carolyn, an expert in environmental technologies, has been working with Joe on his business plans.  She has highlighted their range of biogas pumps that tap into a rapidly expanding market opportunity driven by the shift to low carbon technologies, and this is now a priority for the company’s growth.

For Joe, the Keele programme has been a transformative experience: “The mix of individuals interacting with the programme content is what makes it so good. Keele’s programme has expanded our vison, and Carolyn has been fantastic in showing me how to put ideas into practice," he says. Turning to the future of EMS Joe is optimistic: “We’re aiming to double our turnover, and I now think we can achieve that.”

ERDF logo Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent businesses can benefit from a range of specialist support and funding.  Interested companies should contact Keele University’s Business Gateway on 01782 733001 or

*The MCIL project (ref: 32R15P00229) is part-funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds England Growth Programme 2014-2020.