A major survey showing the aspirations of pre-teen children reveals that most of them want to go into business when they become adults.
Across the 26 counties involved, 60% of 11 and 12 year-olds said that they would like to be an entrepreneur in the future, according to the survey of 8,000 children who spent 12-16 weeks creating classroom businesses on the Junior Entrepreneur Programme in 2019.
60% of girls across all counties surveyed indicated that they would choose entrepreneurship as their career, according to the study.
That is 7% more than the 53% of boys who would consider entrepreneurship as a career in the future.
The survey, involving 16,000 students, is one of the largest known to have been undertaken in Irish primary schools.
Children wrote their responses on their Junior Entrepreneur Class workbooks.
Every child put forward their own idea for the classroom business and a shortlist of ideas was pitched to Dragons from their local community, selecting one business idea which the whole class gets behind.
The survey reported a strong message from the 365 teachers surveyed was that setting up a classroom business was enjoyed by pupils, with 99% of teachers reporting that the children enjoyed the experience, while 96% reported that the programme was beneficial to the pupils.
During the programme, children in 700 classes were mentored by local entrepreneurs from their communities.
Every one of the children involved invested their own money to launch their classroom business and were rewarded with a share of the profits from successful businesses.
The businesses had sales of €320,264 in 2019 producing a nett profit of €198,215.
Since its inception in 2010, the programme has given more than 67,000 primary school pupils across the island of Ireland the opportunity to experience practical, real-life business learning as part of their formative education.
“At 11 or 12 years of age, children get a chance to learn about entrepreneurship, meet entrepreneurs in their local area and each child comes up with a business idea in 12 weeks," according to Tweak.com founder Jerry Kennelly who leads the programme and whose company sponsors JEP.
"It’s just a like a real start-up business, with pupils allocated to market research, marketing, sales, finance and production.
"Every child invests a small amount of money and reaps the profits from the enterprise. They learn fast when they are talking about their own money.”