The Junior Entrepreneur Programme is capturing the energy and imagination of primary school pupils around the country, who have masterminded projects involving GAA cards, board games, and teddies that contain sweets
Jerry Kennelly came up with the idea of using the classroom to nurture the young entrepreneurs of the future. After working with second and third level students he saw where it was really taking off, in the primary schools.
“There is a real energy in a primary school classroom,” says Jerry the co-founder of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme, a not-for-profit initiative.
By the end of June, more than 26,000 schoolchildren will have taken part in the programme, a 10-week undertaking delivered by teachers with the support or local entrepreneurs. The plan is to raise that number to some 250,000 by the end of the decade.
A network of volunteer entrepreneurs is assisting children during a 10-week programme to teach them how to manage their money and turn a profit.
It is fostering important skills such as creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and teamwork, says Eucharia McCarthy, director of the curriculum development unit at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
There are team-building games that link with PE and – depending on the focus of the project – there can be links to arts, history, geography or science.
“Overall it’s leading to a greater sense of confidence and understanding of what’s happening in the world,” says Kennelly, one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs, and the founder of Tweak.com.
“They’re realising that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the classroom to be an entrepreneur. But you need to have the drive and the passion, and ownership and responsibility.”
Great way to encourage the young minds of today.