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Junior Entrepreneur Programme Calling All Primary School Children




Pupils from Ballynahinch, National School, County Limerick with their fudge project, from left,Heather Bradshaw, Cathal Cooney and Niamh Anderson.

Pupils from Ballynahinch, National School, County Limerick with their fudge project, from left,Heather Bradshaw, Cathal Cooney and Niamh Anderson.


The Junior Entrepreneur Programme has launched the #NeverTooYoung Campaign to sign up 10,000 Primary School pupils.


Primary school children in every county in Ireland can benefit from a free Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP), that promises to open young minds to the thrill of business and while developing their skills and confidence.


This week as pupils return to school, the JEP programme, led by Jerry Kennelly, is launching the #nevertooyoung campaign, which aims to sign up 10,000 junior entrepreneurs from primary schools allover Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Many of Ireland’s best-known entrepreneurs and business success stories are directly involved to support and drive the programme in their area throughout Ireland.


“Children are creative and curious by nature, and these are just two of the skills required to be successful in business.  Through JEP, we want to show kids just how much fun creating, working and succeeding in business can be,” said Mr. Kennelly, co-founder of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme and CEO of


The programme, which was rolled out nationally last year, proved hugely successful and signed up more than 5,000 primary school children.  Now this year Kennelly plans to double the numbers and bring entrepreneurship to more than 400 schools and 10,000 pupils. The programme will launch this year in Northern Ireland also, where interest and take up is already very high.


“This is a great opportunity for all school children. There is no cost to the schools, and the benefits are enormous. It has been proven that pupils who participate in entrepreneurship programmes demonstrate increased initiative and self-confidence. Fostering a love for business and a culture of entrepreneurship in children will not only provide them with opportunities in the future, but will also support job creation and economic development in Ireland,” said Mr. Kennelly.



“The expansion of JEP from a local programme in Kerry and Limerick to a national programme has been possible because some of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs have become County Partners in 21 of the 32 counties. This is a very significant commitment and is an indication of the seriousness with which those companies take their corporate social responsibility in their locality” added Mr. Kennelly.


Devised in Kerry, and in association with academic partner Mary Immaculate College, Limerick the programme is aligned with the primary school curriculum, and uses an integrated teaching and project-based approach.  JEP participants develop skills and confidence in presentation, drawing, technology, research, numeracy as well as problem solving, collaboration and brand awareness.  A full programme kit is provided to schools free of charge, which includes the JEP Teacher’s Guide, Posters and classroom display, as well as a dedicated entrepreneur project manager in each region.


While there are a number of entrepreneurship programmes targeting secondary school children, JEP is unique as it is aimed specifically at primary school children and drives home the message that you’re never too young to think about business.


Nationwide examples of companies set up under the JEP programme include:

  • SN Cill Ruadhain in Glanmire, Cork – Lucky Bags – selling lucky bags with mixed contents;
  • Milltown National School in Cavan set up “Farm Gate” selling eggs from Rare Hens;
  • Spa National School, Tralee Kerry “Spa’s Charming Chocolates” – bought chocolate in bulk, melted it and added flavours like honeycomb, marshmallow & biscuit;
  • Our Lady’s Abbey in Adara – “Swap & Shop” – swap tip you drop – get vouchers for your items you bring to swap and buy them back. Entry to swap shop is charged;
  • St. Fergus Primary School in Glin in Limerick set up “Rocky Art” where they hand painted locally sourced rocks that are paperweights and keepsakes;
  •  Gortskehy National School in Mayo set up “Mixed Spice” – selling small sachets of mixed spices they mixed, with recipes.


Parents, teachers and friends are invited to use social media and #nevertooyoung #jep on Monday, 10 September to spread the word before applications for JEP close on Wednesday, 12th September 2014. To sign up, schools must complete the JEP School agreement, which can be found on


Find the Junior Entrepreneur Programme on Facebook here!

Find more news on Limerick schools here!

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.