“I am very excited to have a guest speaker of James’ caliber to share his reflections on life as an entrepreneur,”
Currently the vice president of sales for the Enterprise Solutions Group, Besselman was raised in Canton, Ohio in a family of working class entrepreneurs. He graduated from Kent State in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.
Besselman has worked globally for large companies such as Oracle, IBM and Baan. He has also sought out and been involved with seven software start-ups, including his own in Atlanta, MicroAge, for which he was named Small Business Person of the Year by the local Chamber of Commerce.
Besselman's presentation focused on the personal traits that he feels are important for an entrepreneur to embody. “What I’ve found is that you’ll fail more often than not, but a true barometer of character in a person is his or her ability to pick themselves up and be successful after they fail,” he said. He went on to tell the audience about some of his own successes and failures and what he learned from his experiences.
Besselman ended his speech with some advice for students. “Find something you really enjoy, go be the best at it, have a passion for it, take care of people, build relationships, be a good person and try to make the world a better place, and you will be amazed at what comes to you. That’s really my message,” Besselman said.
“The opportunity to host an entrepreneur like Mr. Besselman at the College of Business Administration fits with the CEBI’s outreach mission and benefits both Kent State students and entrepreneurs in our region,” said Deborah F. Spake, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration.
Kent State University Alumnus Michael D. Solomon has supported the speaker program since its inception in 2001 for the purpose of exposing students and community members to successful entrepreneurs. The series brings experienced entrepreneurs and educators on campus each semester to share their insights and wisdom.
The Michael D. Solomon Speaker Series is just one way the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation strives to reach its goal. The student mission of the CEBI is to fully immerse young entrepreneurs from their first day at Kent State through graduation, helping them develop entrepreneurial skills and an entrepreneurial mindset by offering innovative, experiential learning opportunities and fostering relationships between the university and business communities.
For more information on the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation or the College of Business Administration visit www.kent.edu/