Cleary U.Cleary University

James Bell credits his success as an entrepreneur to Cleary


A successful entrepreneur needs these skills: endurance, problem-solving, tenacity, logic, creativity, effective communication and innovativeness. “I feel Cleary set me up with all of these capabilities,” reports Cleary graduate and entrepreneur James Bell.

I came to Cleary from the United Kingdom on a soccer scholarship,” he begins the story about his experience at Cleary University. “The college was cost effective,” but he quickly learned the university offered him “immense opportunities,” he describes.

He completed his bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship in 2020 and his master’s degree in Strategic Leadership one year later. James took advantage of the dual credit option Cleary offers, a program (called Plus One) where students build credits toward their master’s degree while earning their bachelor’s. “I don’t think any school offers this accelerated program the way Cleary does,” he notes.  

But before he could complete his degree, the pandemic hit.

Everyone was leaving campus and studying online from home, but because of the travel ban, James was stranded in the US. His home became the dormitory at Cleary University. He was the only student on campus.

He began searching for activities to occupy his time; he thought about bowling so started googling local bowling centers and found very little information. “I don’t even bowl, but for some reason, that is what I googled,” he laughs.

That’s what ignited the entrepreneurial skills he had learned from Cleary. He investigated further, which led to the creation of a smartphone app called Book!t, which he expects will be a household name soon. Initially, the app will enable users to search for local activities and entertainment, reserve times, split costs and share reviews on social media. Bowling, laser tag, paint ball, miniature golf and many other activities in local areas can be accessed using this app. “Its opportunities are limitless,” James foresees.

He spoke with some of the professors at Cleary about his app, “they allowed me to bounce ideas off them, they supported and encouraged me, they helped me develop my business plan, and they listened to my power point for prospective investors and gave me their suggestions for polishing my presentation skills.”

James attributes the success of his invention to Cleary, where he received the tools to critically think outside the box, pioneer his idea with confidence, and face multiple investors with “money, power and success,” he says with a bit of intimidation and a lot of excitement.

Once the app launches this summer, James plans to open his first headquarters in Livingston County near Cleary where “some of the most talented, creative and innovative minds are,” he announces. And then on to England where he will establish his second headquarters.

“The people at Cleary are completely brilliant. They taught me every aspect about being an entrepreneur, they built up my confidence, they inspired me, and they supported me every step of the way to pursue my dream,” he announces proudly.

Using the attributes of the Cleary Mind, which were instilled in his classes, James was ready to “face the world of powerful investors with persuasiveness, creative thinking and strong leadership,” he notes. “Cleary also nurtured my innovative mind,” he adds.

“I always planned to be an entrepreneur and that was another reason why Cleary was such a good fit for me. It offers a strong business program with a concentration in entrepreneurship, exactly what I was looking for.

“This university helped me develop in more ways than I could possibly imagine,” and I made many new friends and incredible memories!

“It’s the personal touch at Cleary that makes it so different,” he finds. “Cleary is a special community.

“The dream outcome to take my company multi-national is well within my ability because Cleary prepared me for success.”