Durant School of Entreprenurship
The Business Model Competition Global is inspired by the stories of Alfred Sloan and Billy Durant. Although many people know Alfred Sloan as the CEO of General Motors and the father of the modern corporation, few people know of Billy Durant, the creative entrepreneur that founded General Motors, growing revenues into the hundreds of millions before being ousted by the board for being too maverick. The Durant versus Sloan story is iconic because it mirrors the development of global economies and business schools after the industrial revolution when large firms displaced entrepreneurial firms and education became focused on theory and practice for managing large firms. Indeed, business schools were founded to train generations of “Sloan” managers who could manage the large corporations of the era. However, as entrepreneurship began to rebound in the 1970s, business schools slowly awakened to the need to teach entrepreneurship and to do so, borrowed theories developed for large firms, and tried to apply them in small firm settings. Strategic planning became business planning, product development became business development, and so forth. However, the tactics for managing large firms often focus on known problems and solutions whereas new ventures (whether in startups or existing firms) face a different challenge: unknown problems and unknown solutions. This means that the techniques to train “Sloan” managers may not work well to train “Durant” entrepreneurs. Despite the value that Sloan managers add to society, the world needs the brash innovativeness of Durant entrepreneurs to create the next wave of innovation. Recent research has begun to investigate this new approach to entrepreneurship education, the virtual concept known as the Durant School of Entrepreneurship.