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Cork Independent

Business & Professional

The kids mean business!

Thursday, 12th September, 2019 8:37am

A major survey has found that 59 per cent of Cork 11 and 12 year olds who participated in a classroom business have aspirations to become entrepreneurs when they grow up.

68 per cent of girls and 57 per cent of boys in the county expressed an interest in being entrepreneurs when they grow up, after being part of a 12-16 week programme.

Across the 26 counties surveyed, 60 per cent of 11 and 12 year old Irish children say that they would like to be an entrepreneur in the future, according to the survey of 8,000 children who spent three-four months creating classroom businesses on the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) in 2019.

60 per cent of girls (across all counties surveyed) indicated that they would choose entrepreneurship as their career, according to the study. 53 per cent of boys reported that they would consider entrepreneurship as a career in the future in the survey in which 8,000 of the 16,000 pupils completing the programme in 26 counties across the island.

The survey is one of the largest ever known to have been undertaken in Irish primary schools.

96 per cent of pupils responded that they enjoyed working in a team during their JEP experience and 99 per cent indicated that they enjoyed becoming classroom entrepreneurs on the programme. Every child put forward their own idea for the classroom business and a shortlist of ideas are pitched to dragons from their local community, who then select one business idea which the whole class gets behind.

The 365 teachers surveyed reported that setting up a classroom business was enjoyed by pupils. 99 per cent of teachers reported that the children enjoyed the experience, while 96 per cent reported that the programme was beneficial to the pupils. 89 per cent of teachers reported that JEP helped facilitate the delivery of the core primary school curriculum, through its use of maths, English, art and other subjects.

During the programme, children in 700 classes were mentored by local entrepreneurs from their communities. Every one of the children involved invested in their classroom business and was rewarded with a share of the profits from successful businesses.

The children invested their own money to launch the classroom businesses which had sales of €320,264 in 2019 producing a net profit of €198,215. 67,000 children have taken part in the programme since it was launched in 2010.

“At 11 or 12 years of age, children get a chance to learn about entrepreneurship, meet entrepreneurs in their local area and each child comes up with a business idea in 12 weeks. It’s just a like a real start-up business, with pupils allocated to market research, marketing, sales, finance and production. Every child invests a small amount of money and reaps the profits from the enterprise. They learn fast when they are talking about their own money,” according to Tweak.com founder, entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly, who leads the programme and whose company sponsors JEP.

Signup has opened for the 2020 Junior Entrepreneur Programme, which is free of charge to pupils and schools. Teachers can sign up at www.juniorentrepreneur.ie until 4 October.

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