Monday 25 March 2019

Savvy Kilbrin students turn bath bombs idea into a clean profit

Pupils were part of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme showcase

Maria Herlihy

Dragons got more than they bargained for when entrepreneurial pitches were made to them by 18 Kilbrin National School students. 

Local dragons John Corkery of Alu Fit and the then principal Sean O'Gorman and Eleanor McSweeney were ready with their clipboards and calculators to hear the business pitches of six groups of students. The students, who had formed their own mini companies, were all well prepared with their pitches, which varied from bath bombs to worry monsters to personalised book marks to a recycling pitch. 

However, the dragons opted for the bath bomb company, Capiche Cosmetics.  The students took part in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) which started eight years ago and since then it has inspired and challenged just shy of 50,000 children aged between 11-12 to come up with their own winning business idea. 

While the students now had their company,  'Capiche Cosmetics', it was then a matter of the class dividing into various sub sections who then tackled sales and marketing, finances to how to tell the story of their product to its design and production.  

JEP is regarded as being hugely important in developing skills such as literary, numeracy but also key competencies including problem solving, technology, communication, team building, confidence and creative thinking.

 So, how did the students actually make a bath bomb? They simply rolled up their sleeves and, in a large bowl, mixed Epsom salts, citric acid, coconut oil, lemon juice, baking soda, corn flour, essential oils and soap dye. It meant that they were able to make 30 per day prior to going to the RDS to showcase their wares. 

To get a real understanding of risk and reward, pupils invest €5 themselves with a view to turning a profit which can go back into their company. 

The students held an open day at the school and were well versed in everything from the sales pitch to their finances to how their company unfolded.  On that day, the students turned a tidy profit of €550. They re-invested half of the money and with the rest, they enjoyed some welcome time off and some fun at Ballyhass Lakes. 

Where did the name 'Capiche Cosmetics' stem from?  With a smile, Teacher Lisa Keane said that students in the class are a big fan of Buff Egan, who is the hurling snapchat phenomenon who uses quirky catchphrases such as Capiche. 

Capiche, as many will also know, is the Italian phrase for OK.  She also said the students thoroughly enjoyed the entire JEP experience. "It was a truly brilliant platform for the students to showcase not only themselves but equally so the school. We hope to make it back again next year to the RDS," she said. 

Kilbrin NS was the only school in Duhallow who travelled to the RDS to take part in the JEP National Showcase Day. 

"It was fantastic for the students as they got real life experience of setting up a company to working with finance to team building. They absolutely loved it from start to finish," she said. 

The JEP programme is the brainchild of Jerry Kenneally, who set up the royalty-free digital photo archive Stockbyte, which he later sold to the multi-national Getty Images for €110 million. His latest adventure is - an online service for small businesses, helping them to design their own marketing and advertising material.