Thomas Keenan, Daniel O’Riordan and David Seabra from Beaumont Boys National School who, along with their classmates, won the JEP Community Champions Award for their business , Workout. PHOTOS: JERRY KENNELLY

It’s a JEP in the right direction

Several Cork primary schools have claimed major awards in a programme designed to show pupils what it’s like to be a start-up entrepreneur.

The Cork awardees for this year’s Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) were Beaumont Boys National School in Cork city, Bunscoil Rinn An Chabhlaigh in Cobh, and Timoleague National School. Founded in 2010, JEP is a free entrepreneurship skills programme that promotes teamwork, resilience, problem-solving and creativity for 5th and 6th classes in primary schools.

This year, 9,000 pupils around the island of Ireland combined their creativity with the skills they developed on the programme to create original products and launch businesses ranging from board games to storybooks to high-end craft and educational products.

Beaumont Boys National School were awarded the Community Champions Award for their business, Workout. The boys devised an innovative and fun board game that requires players to do exercises to move along the board. Their class teacher, Ciara Bourke, confirmed the class made a profit of €1,200 with their business.

Bunscoil Rinn An Chabhlaigh received the Tech Titans Award for their hand-designed, eco-friendly shopping bags project, BSRAC Bags. Each pupil invested €5 and their teacher invested €100 to bring their total capital to €250. The pupils forecasted a profit of approximately €500 through selling 100 bags. They were delighted at the end of the project to make a profit of €1,840 by selling 347 bags.

Timoleague National School created Timoleague Times Past, Present and Future, a magazine about the people of Timoleague. Thoroughly researched and edited, the 64-page publication is packed with interviews with locals, as well as sketches, photos and puzzles. The 6th class pupils negotiated with shops in the village and the local post office to stock the magazine. They received the Finance Wizards Award both for their ingenuity in funding the project and their eventual profit of €2,060. Their class teacher, Anne McCarthy, said she was extremely proud of the work ethic and perseverance of the pupils.

JEP Managing Director, Marie Lynch, said: “Participation by schools has returned to close to pre-pandemic levels and JEP has become a rite of passage for children in many primary schools before they move on to secondary school. Teachers indicate a huge increase in confidence and life skills as well as a strong reinforcement of the primary school curriculum in maths, English, art and SPHE.”

Approximately 90,000 pupils have participated in JEP since its inception in 2010, with Enterprise Ireland getting behind the programme in 2021 and 2022 under its Primary Schools Entrepreneurship Initiative.