Schools Encouraged To Take Part In Junior Entrepreneur Programme

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Children from Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn won the JEP Community Champions Award earlier this year.

THE deadline for registration for this year’s Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP), which has empowered more than 80,000 fifth and sixth class primary schoolchildren to start businesses in their classrooms could be the springboard for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Last year alone, more than 100 businesses were set up in classrooms across the island of Ireland.  They included brightly coloured bird boxes that were handmade and painted by the pupils of Scoil Mhic Easmainn in Tralee.

They called their business An Nead, set up a stall at Tralee Farmers’ Market, sold 330 units, and made a profit of €2,040, winning themselves the Community Champions award along the way.

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The JEP an entrepreneurship skills programme offered free of charge to fifth and sixth class pupils.  It was developed in collaboration with Mary Immaculate College, Limerick so that it reinforces the primary school curriculum, while also promoting teamwork, resilience, problem-solving, and creativity.

Under the guidance of teachers and with help and inspiration from local entrepreneurs, children spend 12 to 16 weeks during the school year choosing, investing in, and producing a product or service from scratch.

They then make it available for sale at a school-hosted JEP Showcase day and share the profits at the end.

JEP also encourages pupils to consider the possibility of becoming entrepreneurs in the future.  According to a survey of 8,000 participating pupils carried out in 2018, 60% of girls and 53% of boys said they would like to become entrepreneurs when they were older.

In 2020, JEP adapted to school closures by offering an online programme over Zoom. The plan is to build on that this year.  “We are excited to announce a digitally-enhanced JEP for 2022, including live events delivered straight to the classroom and increased access to some of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs,” says Marie Lynch, Director of JEP.

“Support from Enterprise Ireland means that online experience and the opportunity for pupils and teachers to digitally present their JEP business may just create our best experience yet.”

You can register at to be part of this year’s JEP programme.  But be quick. Registration closes on Friday, October 22, and teacher orientation webinars for new teachers kick off immediately after the midterm break.


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