Father Greg MacLeod Lecture Series

The Father Greg MacLeod Lecture Series, Bringing the University and Community Together Through Faith and Reason, will take place on Wednesday, October 15, 2023, at 7:00pm in the Pit Lounge at Cape Breton University. This event is sponsored by the CBU Chaplaincy and the Newman Society.

This lecture titled “The Role of Community Entrepreneurs in Depleted Communities: How Father Greg’s ‘ACTION RESEARCH’ impacted Cape Breton” will be presented by Professor Dr. Colin Mason from the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Father Greg Lecture Series – October 2023


Depleted communities – such as Industrial Cape Breton – are towns, cities and regions which have lost much of their rationale as economic spaces as a result of disinvestment by capital, resulting in job losses, high unemployment, and a declining population as younger people leave, but which retains high social attachment to place. Conventional approaches to economic regeneration have failed to revitalize such places. Where new economic activity has occurred, it is typically a result of the activities of community entrepreneurs. This talk focuses on the life and work of one community entrepreneur – Father Greg MacLeod, a catholic priest, professor and prominent community business entrepreneur in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, whose economy was devastated by the contraction and ultimate closure of its coal and steel industry closures in the final decades of the 20th century. MacLeod played a key role in establishing several community businesses, notably New Dawn and BCA Holdings, using what was at the time an innovative structure to organize this activity. Drawing on two biographies of Father Greg, his own writings and my meeting with him, the talk will reflect on what one of his biographers termed his ‘entrepreneurial experiments – and which he described as ‘action research’ – and their relevance to the practices of contemporary community entrepreneurs.


Colin Mason is an Emeritus Professor in the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, having retired from his position as Professor of Entrepreneurship on 30th September 2023. He previously held a Chair in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde and before that was at the University of Southampton.

He has held visiting positions at universities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, most recently University of Otago, University of Adelaide and University of South Australia. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada).

His research is on entrepreneurship and regional development with specific research focus on entrepreneurial finance, specifically business angel investing, and on entrepreneurial ecosystems. His research has a strong policy and practitioner focus and he has engaged with numerous external organizations and government, including Canada’s National Angel Capital Association (NACO), HM Treasury (Patient Capital review), Scottish Government, European Commission, Eurochambres, InterTrade Ireland, Growth Analysis (Sweden) and OECD. He is a non-executive director and trustee of the Bethany Christian Trust (since 2014), a social enterprise that addressed the needs of the homeless and other vulnerable people. He was also on the board of Celebrate Kilmarnock, a community-based group that is seeking to transform this once-prosperous town. He was joint winner of the ESRC’s 2015 Outstanding Impact in Business award and the 2018 Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division Entrepreneurship Practice Award both (with Richard Harrison) for his research on business angels. He was a member of the UK’s 2021 REF Business and Management Panel.