Eight schools in Waterford are completing their projects for the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP).
An Baile Nua, Killea Boys National School (Dunmore East), Scoil Naisiunta Na Cille, Newtown Junior School, Our Lady Of Mercy Senior Primary School, Faiche Liag National School, Waterford Educate Together National School and Glor Na Mara National School (Tramore) are among more than 600 schools throughout Ireland who have signed up for the programme, which was co-founded by Tweak.com founder and entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly.
The free nationwide programme gives children between 11 and 12 years of age a real insight to the business world by enabling them to convert their commercial ideas into real business opportunities, complete with management teams, sales, and especially the thrill of running a successful and profitable business.
The free 14-week programme is led by Jerry Kennelly and supported by successful entrepreneurs across Ireland, including Sam McCauley (founder) McAuley Chemists, Frank Salmon (CMS Periperals), Peter Cosgrove, (ATA) and John Purdy (Ergo) among others.
Over the last nine years, 67,000 national school pupils have already benefited from the programme.
“All too often entrepreneurship programmes target transition year students at second level, but by then many career decisions and subject choices have already been made. The ideal time to open young minds to the thrill of business is at primary education level, when they are at their most creative and uninhibited in their approach to business ideas and solutions,” said Jerry Kennelly.
The JEP programme is aligned with the primary school curriculum, with participants developing skills and confidence in presentation, drawing, technology, research, numeracy as well as problem solving, collaboration and brand awareness. A classroom and teacher kit is provided to schools free of charge, which includes the JEP Teacher’s Guide, posters, a school flag, pupil workbooks and classroom display.
In a recent survey, primary school teachers said that the JEP programme supported subjects in the school curriculum, ranking maths and science as the key subject supported, with English and literacy skills a very close second, and SPHE, visual arts and ICT also being supported by the programme. 87% of teachers saw an increase in confidence in children participating in JEP in their primary schools, with a further 66% stating that participating in the programme improved communication skills and the ability to work as a team.
JEP is a great opportunity for all school children. There is no cost to the schools and the benefits are enormous. It has been proven that pupils who participate in entrepreneurship programmes demonstrate increased initiative and self-confidence. Fostering a love for business and a culture of entrepreneurship in children will not only provide opportunities in the future, but will also support job creation and economic development in Ireland.
Schools who participate in the programme are invited to exhibit at the JEP All-Ireland Showcase event, now in its second year, at the RDS in Dublin on May 20. More than 5,000 children are due to participate.
JEP is available free for parents, children and schools, featuring visits by local entrepreneurs to the classroom in each region. Learn more at juniorentrepreneur.ie.