Wednesday 12 December 2018

'Age is no barrier' - young students showcase their success in the business world

Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

PERHAPS it's the fruit of one's labour that creates the drive for success and it seems this motivational spirit has been the lasting effect of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme on one Wicklow school.

The pupils from Gaelscoil An Inbhir Mhoir, Arklow, took part in JEP, creating the Marching the Map board game, which 100 buyers snapped up for €24 each, during a three-day flash sale.

Fifth class teacher Caroline McCarthy, witnessed a transformation in the children, that was testimony to the power behind the initiative.

“I was very impressed with a meet and greet when the children met local entrepreneurs, that was when the programme really took off,” Ms McCarthy said.

“I was determined the children would meet a female and male entrepreneur. I didn’t want them to think it was gender-based.

“And when the board game arrived (after the children completed the product) and it was stacked on the class counter in the morning, I remember one child, who would be very talkative generally.

“But on that day, he walked in and went ‘wow’ and his jaw just hit the floor.  He couldn’t believe the result of all their time and effort.

“His mascot was on the box, so he was so proud - it was one of those moments you don’t write, it made it all worthwhile.”

Ms McCarthy said it was “particularly enjoyable” to watch the children as they listened the the visiting entrepreneurs and she spotted her class had been “fully engaged” and kept firing questions at the business people.

And students such as Kalel Nolan, realised age isn’t a barrier to what can be achieved in business.  Sometimes the earlier the start, the better.

Kalel said: “The most important thing we learned in my opinion is you can be any age to start a business and it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can always be an entrepreneur.”

The children created the educational board game - which teaches players interesting facts about every county in Ireland and they spent long days and nights perfecting it.

They were each given a county to research and found out as much as they could, then writing up a list of questions, which then featured in the board game.

The winner of the boardgame is the person who knows the most about each county.

The children utilised one key business tool, market research - asking parents to fill out a form on what price they’d be willing to pay for the game.  And this is how they set the price tag and made a healthy profit, which they enjoyed planning to spend.

Kalel said:  “When I’m older I’d like to be an entrepreneur because it’s exciting.”

Fellow pupil Deirbhile Gavagan also admitted she would “love to be an entrepreneur” for a very different reason and one many business people could no doubt relate to.

Deirbhile told how she wanted to become an entrepreneur “because you work for yourself and there is no one else telling you what to do. 

“You're the boss, you know it’s your work, you’re really accomplished, you enjoy working.”

Deirbhile said she thrived during JEP and enjoyed school even more than usual.

JEP is open to fifth and sixth class pupils from across Ireland and to P6 and P7 in Northern Ireland.  The scheme for this year is open for new applications until Friday, September 28. If your school would like to enter the Junior Entrepreneur Programme 2019, click here

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