Joe Rozsa, North Canton’s first , views his new role as a mentor for students at Kent State University and Walsh University and aspiring entrepreneurs around the city, but he’s also in it to learn for himself.
“I love to talk to people. When I talk to people, I also learn,” Rozsa told North Canton Patch shortly Tuesday.
Rozsa, a Clinton resident, now is tasked with engaging entrepreneurial development around North Canton and will guide students within the business programs at Kent State University and .
“I really enjoy talking to students and young people about ideas or just even some crazy notions they have about starting their own businesses,” he said. “It’s always good to have somebody who’s really not connected to you personally to bounce ideas off of to get an unbiased opinion whether it’s good or no good.”
Rozsa will be on each campus one day a week starting this fall, said Doug Lane, president of the . He’ll meet with other EIRs (in Twinsburg, Aurora, Hudson, Kent and Orrville), and serve as a director for the student business programs and spend about 10 hours a week in North Canton.
Lane said another advantage to having an EIR in the city is the possibility those Walsh and Kent State business students would stick around North Canton or Northeast Ohio and start their own businesses.
Rozsa, who earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial art and graphic design from the University of Akron, runs his own business, Trailer Trash Design firm, which was a recent recipient of the prestigious Gold Hermes Award for Creativity from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.
Lane said any of the final three candidates (10 had applied) could have worked as a mentor to Chamber members, but Rozsa’s ability to work with students likely set him apart from the others when it came to Kent State and Walsh making their choices for EIR.
“Having two of his own college kids, it just all seemed to fall right into place for him,” Lane said.
(Rozsa is father to Patch associate local editor .)
Rozsa said his energy, enthusiasm and openness will help the students and others he will work with to share their ideas without fear of failure.
“So many ideas never get brought up because people are afraid to get rejected or are told that’s not a good idea,” he said. “I’m just kind of laid back and I fly by the seat of my pants a lot, and sometimes you need to do that. I hope I can bring that same feeling to their students and other people, to not be afraid to voice their ideas.”
Rozsa will work between 15 and 20 hours a week, and Walsh and Kent State will each pay $5,000. Lane said the Chamber will offer payment as well, but that amount hasn’t been finalized.
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