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Remembering our Emeritus Professor of Enterprise Development Colin Gray

Emeritus Professor Colin Gray

Colin Gray, OUBS’ Emeritus Professor of Enterprise Development, has sadly passed away aged 76 following a short illness. He had just moved to Bulgaria to be with his partner.

He worked at the OU for 23 years before his retirement in 2010. This included leading the OU’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Research Unit for 13 years (1990-2003) with research focused on entrepreneurship, management development and the adoption of technologies in small firms.

Colin had instigated the Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain which ran for three decades until 2014. A former colleague who worked with him on the survey, Professor Richard Blundel, said: “He helped initiate one of the UK’s pioneering surveys of the state of small business, which was only produced with a small team. With a really in-depth understanding of entrepreneurship and management development, Colin was a significant figure in the field of small business research.”

He was also responsible for developing the OU’s first undergraduate module in entrepreneurship (B322: Investigating entrepreneurial opportunities), the forerunner to the current B205: Exploring Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

A former president of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE), he worked widely as a consultant and writer in the broad enterprise field including projects in the UK, Italy, France, Germany and Egypt.

Colin is described by his former colleagues as “very friendly, generous and open”; and as someone who was “charming and funny, always good for a chat, and with a gift for making you think you were saying something interesting too”; who “always had time for people and greeted everyone with a smile ... and took a genuine interest in others and their work too”; and who “played an important early role in the internationalisation of OUBS”.

FBL’s Executive Dean and another former OUBS colleague, Professor Dev Kodwani, added: “I remember a very happy and collegiate colleague who was always smiling. We will all miss Colin and his generosity and friendly support to one and all.”

An online memorial service is taking place on Sunday 2 May at 09:00 (BST) via Zoom with the early start due to Australian family members.


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