Innovation Leadership Programme

This programme has now ended. Please visit our Business Support page for information on current support and collaboration opportunities.


The fully-funded Innovation Leadership programme at Keele University supports aspirational business leaders and early-stage entrepreneurs to develop the skills, knowledge and attributes to take their business to the next level.

Our last cohort of the Innovation Leadership programme commenced in October 2022, if you would like to find out about other ways that we can support your organisation please get in touch: | 01782 733001

MCIL programme core offers

Your path to innovation led-growth

Delivered by a dedicated team of expert business leaders, academics and Entrepreneurs in Residence, the programme is fully-funded and exclusively open to small-to-medium sized businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire who are predominantly B2B.

  • Zero cost to your business - Fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the only cost to your business is your time.
  • Six two-day sessions – Working around you, the programme consists of 12 sessions across a six-month period.
MCIL programme features

Programme features

Gain access to:

  • Coaching, advice and guidance
  • A unique blend of action learning - including one-to-one sessions, peer review, activity-based learning, creative challenge-based activity and self-directed learning
  • Innovation-focussed action plan development for your business
  • Access to the latest thinking around innovation and social value, dedicated masterclasses and a unique innovation eco-system

Benefits to your business

  • Dedicated time to focus on innovation and R&D as a strategic driver for your business growth
  • Topics include; innovation and creativity, diversification, marketing, business development, funding and team dynamics.
  • 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
6 & 7 October 2022

Session 1: Creating the conditions for innovation to flourish 
This initial session introduces the broader concepts that will underpin the programme over the coming months and challenges some of the myths around innovation. Over the two days, you will be introduced to vision, strategies, and models, that you can consider and apply to the day-to-day world of your business. 

10 & 11 November 2022

Session 2: Innovation and creativity 
Over these two days we focus on themes across creative problem solving, design thinking and types on innovation. You will hear from previous participants of the programme who describe their experiences of innovation leadership and how the insights, tools and techniques learned during the programme have benefited their business. 

8 & 9 December 2022 

Session 3: Marketing and sales success
This part of the programme continues in an entrepreneurial spirit, where these two days focus on how to apply both marketing and sales strategies and techniques to the challenges of growing a business. You will be immersed in practical approaches that bring the subjects to life and tactics that are proven to aid sustainable business growth.

12 & 13 January 2023 

Session 4: Getting comfortable with leadership
The two days continue the blended combination of academic input, business practitioners and guest speakers, coming together to add differing perspectives around the subjects of leadership and strategies. You can expect to be challenged, through in-depth analysis of real business scenarios to bring the subjects to life, whilst giving you approaches to try back at work.

9 & 10 February 2023 Session 5: How to win more business
As a change of pace, this session looks through the lens of business growth – in particular, how to win more work, by tendering – complemented by signposting to access growth enablers, such as funding, grants, and innovation support.
9 & 10 March 2023

Session 6: Creating an A-team
Being a more innovative leader, demands a greater understanding of self, before leading others. The final two-days bring all the themes together, where the focus is on embedding innovation leadership into your business through investigating ways to engage teams in more effective ways, that lead to enhanced performance and growth.  


ERDF logo left, Midlands engine logo right

‌The Keele University Innovation Leadership programme (also referred to as the Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership programme) is delivered through the Keele University Science & Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (Ref: 32R17P01691). This programme is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.