Tilt CEO visited Laurier

Photo by Marco Pedri
Photo by Marco Pedri

James Beshara, co-founder and CEO of Tilt, came to Wilfrid Laurier University last Thursday to speak to students about his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Beshara’s visit to Laurier was one stop along his tour through various universities in Ontario. His goal was not only to speak to students about Tilt, but to also give insight into the many challenges he has come across throughout his career and to provide tips to students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Tilt, a crowdfunding app, allows for convenient, efficient ways to collect, fundraise and sell to your peers and individuals in your community.

Startup Laurier, XLerate Laurier, Laurier Sales Association, The Link, and Laurier Marketing Association worked together to host the event with Brendan Chong, Tilt ambassador team lead for Laurier and the University of Waterloo, and third-year finance student at Laurier.

As the Canadian growth program for Tilt has been very strong throughout the years of its existence, Chong explained that he felt having Beshara visit Laurier’s campus would be relevant for  many Laurier students.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in business, or science, or arts, or music—I feel that a lot of the kids that come here to Laurier are really driven from within and are self-starters,” Chong said.

The event held at Laurier was split into two portions. The first half of the event gave Beshara an opportunity to speak to students.

Beshara spoke about the different ventures he started while growing up and attending school. He told students about his journey to starting Tilt and talked about some of his most important realizations along the way.

“For a lot of people, they believe entrepreneurial experience to be this very glamorous thing. [James] was quick to tell us that if you’re going to do it, don’t do it for the glamour. Do it because you love it and you really believe in it,” said Chong.

The second part of the event was a social portion, where students could ask Beshara specific questions in regards to startups and entrepreneurship.

Students asked Beshara key questions in regards to their own ideas and startups, such as how they know when to start pursuing their startup, when to start seeking investments and how they know if their ideas are worth going after.

“He also talked about what it’s like to raise venture capital. It’s very rare that you’ll get to speak to someone who will tell you about their venture capital experience. For a lot of people, it’s a complex experience and that was very cool for [students],” Chong said.

Jacob Tutt, co-president of Startup Laurier, explained that Beshara’s insight into the world of entrepreneurship was great for students, due to the large entrepreneurial community in Waterloo, especially focused in tech.

“Having an entrepreneur that runs a [very successful] company come to our school and talk about the lessons that he’s learned and his path to getting to where he is now is a very hot-commodity in terms of entrepreneurial students on campus,” Tutt said.

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