Kent State ends Entrepreneurship Week with lessons on networking, immigration

Mary Kate Garvey

Kent State concluded Global Entrepreneurship Week Thursday with three events focused on international entrepreneurship and networking.

Students gathered on the third floor of the Student Center to speed network with alumni and entrepreneurs and get tips on how to start businesses during the “Golden Flashes: Past and Present Entrepreneurs” session. With each ding of a bell, students shuffled from table to table to hear about different topics, such as social media and overcoming obstacles.

Heidi Baumgart, owner of wedding coordination company Heidzillas, built her business using social media.

“I was a bride, who was a project manager for an advertising agency,” Baumgart said. “When I started to plan my own wedding, I realized that the process of planning a wedding was exactly like my project-managing job, and I saw there was a business opportunity there. I wrote out anything and everything I could have thought about the wedding industry, which there’s a lot of random things you can write about.”

More than two years and 500 blog posts later, Baumgart thought she proved herself to the wedding industry. In four-and-a-half years, her business planned 100 weddings.

Kathy Reid, owner of Prudential Kathy Reid Realty, started out as a teacher. While attending Kent State, both she and her husband earned their real estate certification. When she found she needed money, she left teaching and started her work in real estate. Reid advised students on how to make themselves appealing to employers.

“People have to need you,” she said. “You just make your brand, so they have to have you. You’re the one to solve their problem.”

Richard Herman, an immigration attorney in Cleveland, and Gene Sasso, Kent State lecturer and coordinator of the Master’s of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication program, spoke at the “International Entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio Panel.”

Both had a passion to help provide immigrants with opportunities to become entrepreneurs. They believed that increasing the rapidly declining number of immigrants in Cleveland would help being the economy back to life.

“We are all immigrants,” Sasso said. “On my mother’s side, they’re Hungarians. On my father’s side, they’re Italians. They came over in the first part of the 20th century. I feel very indebted to them. I look back, and I think about my grandmother, 27 years old in 1927, landing on the shores of Montreal. [She] didn’t speak English, but she had a desire to do something more. That’s courage; that’s amazing.”

Also available to students was “Career Services Networking Prep,” co-sponsored by Kent State’s Career Services.

Contact Mary Kate Garvey at mg[email protected].