Creating future entrepreneurs begins in primary school

Primary school children all over Ireland are benefitting from the free Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) that is opening young minds to the thrill of business while developing skills, confidence and commercial acumen. To sign primary school pupils up for the free nationwide Junior Entrepreneur programme, visit www.juniorentrepreneur.ie. Pictured  are Jerry Kennelly founder of JEP Programme with Martin Hamilton (Mash Direct) and JEP primary school pupils Eleanor Green, Daniel Elmes and Katie McMeekin. Pic: Brian Morrison.

Primary school children all over Ireland are benefitting from the free Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) that is opening young minds to the thrill of business while developing skills, confidence and commercial acumen. To sign primary school pupils up for the free nationwide Junior Entrepreneur programme, visit www.juniorentrepreneur.ie. Pictured are Jerry Kennelly founder of JEP Programme with Martin Hamilton (Mash Direct) and JEP primary school pupils Eleanor Green, Daniel Elmes and Katie McMeekin. Pic: Brian Morrison.

A recent survey of national school teachers in Ireland provides clear evidence of the benefits of entrepreneurship and business skills programmes in the primary school curriculum.   More than 330 schools were surveyed to provide a comprehensive overview of the benefits of junior entrepreneurship for primary school pupils.

The Junior Entrepreneur Programme, led by Jerry Kennelly, is the only national programme that promotes entrepreneurship at primary school level.  Last year, the JEP programme was rolled out to more than 10,000 primary school children in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and this year the numbers signing up for JEP are expected to increase significantly.

“This latest research shows how much children can benefit from JEP. Introducing children to entrepreneurship and creating a ‘can do’ culture from an early age not only helps with self esteem and personal development, but it also enables students to better understand subject choices and make career decisions at secondary school level,” said Jerry Kennelly, co-founder of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme and CEO of Tweak.com.

“JEP provides a real opportunity for children - there is no cost to schools nor parents, and the benefits are enormous. Developing a real understanding and love for turning business ideas and concepts into reality will not only provide children with opportunities in the future, but will also support job creation and economic development in Ireland,” added Mr. Kennelly.

The JEP Survey showed that 87% of teachers saw an increase in confidence in children participating in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP ).  Teachers surveyed agreed that children’s communications and presentation skills benefited enormously from the free JEP programme, while life skills such as decision making and teamwork were greatly enhanced in primary school children as a direct result of the JEP programme.

In terms of the businesses created by primary school pupils across Ireland, 48% were in the Arts, Crafts & Design area, with 23% in the Food & Beverage sector and 12% in Print and Publishing.  The JEP businesses, set up by pupils, had management teams with key roles such as management, marketing, sales and finance in each company, generated revenue and in most cases, profit. Some junior entrepreneurs re-invested their profits while others split the proceeds, netting an average return of €50 per pupil. Many classes also made a donation to charity.

The programme is supported by many of Ireland’s best-known entrepreneurs, including Anne Heraty (CPL ), John Tuohy (Parcel Motel ), Martin Hamilton (MashDirect ) and David Walsh (Netwatch ) among others, who support and drive the programme in the counties and regions throughout Ireland.  

Devised in Kerry by Kennelly and his co-founders, in association with academic partner Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, the programme is aligned with the primary school curriculum and uses an integrated teaching and project-based approach.  JEP participants develop skills and confidence in presentation, drawing, technology, research, numeracy as well as problem solving, collaboration and brand awareness.  A full programme kit is provided to schools free of charge, which includes the JEP Teacher’s Guide, Posters and classroom display, as well as a dedicated entrepreneur project manager in each region.

While there are a number of entrepreneurship programmes targeting secondary school children, JEP is unique as it is aimed specifically at primary school children and drives home the message that you’re never too young to think about business. 

The Junior Entrepreneur Programme is now inviting parents, teachers and schools to find out more about this free, nationwide programme and sign up today at www.juniorentrepreneur.ie.

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