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George Gendron

Position: Co-founder and Managing Director of The Solo Project
Categories: Featured Sessions, Panelist

George Gendron has spent most of his professional life at the intersection of media, innovation, entrepreneurship, and education.

Gendron is the Co-founder and Managing Director of The Solo Project, a new venture designed to create a global platform for the rapidly growing population of independent professionals and individuals working in small teams. The Solo Project will consist of a multi-media platform, an educational group, and a research institute.

Gendron served as the Editor-in-Chief of Inc. magazine for two decades, guiding the publication from a start-up through its sale to Bertelsmann, the $20 billion German media company, in 2000. Under his direction, Inc. became the world’s premiere magazine for the founders and CEOs of small- to mid-sized growing businesses as well as the founders and leaders of ambitious new social ventures.

Under Gendron’s leadership, the magazine developed the Inc 500, a ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies. The Inc 500 quickly became a brand in its own right, and identified many of the world’s leading entrepreneurial organizations when they were still in their infancy — companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Patagonia, Timberland, Domino’s, Intuit, Charles Schwab, and countless others.

Gendron also created a joint venture with Ernst & Young to launch the national “Entrepreneur of the Year” awards, which focused public attention not only on successful entrepreneurs but also on individuals who have made lasting contributions to improving the environment in which entrepreneurs operate.

In 1997 Gendron created a joint venture with Michael Porter, of the Harvard Business School, to publish the Inner City 100, a ranking of the fastest-growing companies in America’s inner cities. This list has played a major role in focusing public attention on the role of entrepreneurship in creating jobs and wealth in America’s most economically distressed urban areas. Inspired by the Inner City 100, Gordon Brown launched a sister project in the UK, and similar projects are being launched throughout the Middle East and Africa.

In 2005, Gendron was the Founder and Executive Director of Clark University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, where he designed and managed one of the few university-wide entrepreneurship programs in the country built from the ground up for undergraduate liberal arts, performing arts, social science, and science students. Gendron also taught courses in entrepreneurship and innovation in the MBA program at the Graduate School of Management at Clark University.

In 2011, Gendron became the Managing Director of New Ventures at Mansueto Ventures, which publishes Fast Company and Inc magazines. The New Ventures Group launched The Build Network, a multi-media platform to serve leaders of mid-sized companies. The Build Network published the award winning Build: The Catalog of Ideas, a quarterly print publication.

Gendron began his career in publishing as an arts and entertainment editor for Clay Felker’s New York magazine. At the age of 26, Gendron took over as editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, where he transformed a failing magazine into one of the top city magazines in the country.

Mr. Gendron co-authored and narrated Inc.’s best-selling video, How to Really Start Your Own Business, which won the American Film Institute Award for outstanding business and economic programming. Gendron is a well-known speaker before groups of business leaders in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has lectured at many of the country’s leading universities. He has also been a frequent commentator on entrepreneurship on television and radio and in print. Appearances include 20/20, 48 Hours, CNBC, CNN, and National Public Radio. He has also been quoted extensively in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other major publications.

Prior to leaving Inc., Gendron appeared on the annual ranking of “The 100 Most Influential Business Journalists in America” every year since the list was created, and was named one of the ten most influential magazine journalists in the technology arena in 2001 and 2002.

Publications under Gendron’s leadership have been nominated three times for a National Magazine Award (the Pulitzer Prize for magazines), and won numerous magazine awards for editorial excellence as well as outstanding graphic design.

Gendron is at work on a book titled The Art of the New, designed to demystify entrepreneurship and innovation. The book will synthesize Gendron’s work in media, urban economic development, higher education and the social sector, and explore the process of transforming an idea into something tangible, in business, the non-profit sector, and the arts.