Junior Entrepreneur Programme: The search is on for Ireland's youngest entrepreneurs
If you're a primary school teacher, or if you just know somebody who is, you should spread the word about this year's Junior Entrepreneur Programme.
The 2019 Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) launches on Monday 3 September, with fifth and sixth class pupils across the island of Ireland learning what it means to start their own business.
The brainchild of Jerry Kennelly, the programme's chairman and the founder of Tweak.com, the JEP has grown to the extent that more 12,000 children across 480 classrooms participated in the 2018 version, with overall sales of €220,000 achieved and a profit of €140,000.
More importantly, the programme gives children the chance to learn the basics of the business world before even attending secondary school.
"JEP gives children an extra chance to learn about the real world before they've got to make decisions about what to study in second level," explains Kennelly.
"It gives children the opportunity to do something for themselves, to invest their money and get back profit they’ve made themselves. Along the way they learn the importance of entrepreneurs in their community and find out what they're good at."
As part of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme, local entrepreneurs are asked to come in and mentor pupils.
The ultimate aim of the programme is for children to discover their strengths as individuals and as part of a team.
Together, they’ll choose, invest in and produce their own product or service from scratch.
Examples of 2018 projects include internet safety games (Lehinch National School, Mayo), handcrafted clay pots (Irvinestown Primary School, Enniskillen) and a DIY Healthy Lifestyle Recipe Book (Faha National School, Killarney).
More projects can be found here.
Classes that participate in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme will get a chance to showcase their classroom business at the JEP All Ireland Showcase Day at RDS Simmonscourt in Dublin on 20 May 2019.
Class sign up for JEP 2019 is open now to primary schools - fifth and sixth class in the Republic of Ireland, and P6 P7 in Northern Ireland - and is open until Friday 28 September 2018.
Parents should speak to their teachers to discuss participation in the programme, or learn more on the official JEP website.
RTE Nationwide runs a half hour special on JEP on Wednesday 5 September at 7pm on RTÉ One.