Creating the next generation of innovators

Children in primary school in Ireland are not taught about the world of business or what it means to be an entrepreneur. Fiona McKeon, the founder of BizWorld in Ireland, wants to change this.

Channel all this energy

Primary school children are not taught business, nor are they taught anything about starting a business as a career option. There is, to use a business term, a gap in the education market and BizWorld aims to fill it.

Every parent knows children can be a handful at times. Most children will battle for their independence, to act like a ‘grown-up’ or be their boss. Fiona McKeon wants to channel this energy.

“I often think how the structure of our education system squeezes the creative life out of children,” says McKeon.

“They enter the school system full of energy and hungry for creative learning and then they are squeezed through this funnel of rules and regulations and standardisation. In the end, they are pushed out and expected to join the workforce. This is not the way to create the next generation of innovators.”

BizWorld is a programme designed to give primary school children a taste of what it’s like to start a business. It aims to develop children’s critical thinking, leadership and teamwork skills. It’s a two-day course and an experience that both students and their teachers enjoy very much.

“The children love it,” says McKeon, “but the teachers also say they love it. They get to see their students think in creative ways they haven’t seen before. We don’t sugar coat it for the children; the tasks are quite difficult and they appreciate that. Children like to be challenged; they don’t like to be patronised.”

Starting a business is a career option

Since Bizworld has launched in Ireland, over 400 two day programmes have taken place.

“We want to ramp this number up,” says McKeon. “There’s an enormous appetite for this among primary schools.”

There is also an important social aspect to what Bizworld wants to achieve.

“It’s our job, as parents and educators, to ensure that children are prepared to enter the workforce,” says McKeon. “One of the best ways to secure a job is to create one yourself. The whole notion of the ‘job for life’ is gone, so it’s important that children in Ireland know they have the option of being an entrepreneur. This is about building a future for our children and having a positive impact on our society. Our children inherit what we leave behind and they need the skills to deal with whatever legacy they get.”


READ MORE: BizWorld Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes entrepreneurship skills for young people.