The Junior Entrepreneur Programme

The Junior Entrepreneur Programme encourages children to apply their abundant creativity to business ideas.

You don’t have to wait until adulthood to start a business.

A free initiative called the Junior Entrepreneur Programme is calling on Irish children between the ages of 10 and 12 to get involved and learn how to convert their business ideas into real commercial enterprises. The project is backed by some of the top entrepreneurs in the country, and has reached more than 26,500 primary school students in the five years since it began. 

While traditionally these sorts of programmes have been aimed at transition year students, the JEP seeks to get young people interested in business much earlier, when children are at their most creative and uninhibited. 

A boost in confidence

The JEP complements the school curriculum, particularly in areas such as maths and science, but also helps students develop skills in presentation, drawing, and collaboration. 

90% of teachers surveyed say they have seen an increase in confidence in children who take part in the programme, while 66% have reported improvements in their students’ communication skills and teamwork.   

Three teens who grew in business

Fraser Doherty

Fraser Doherty

He began using his granny’s recipes to make jam when he was 14, and his produce proved so popular Doherty had to drop out of school to meet orders. Waitrose came calling in 2007, and the Edinburgh businessman’s company Superjam now supplies more than 2,000 supermarkets around the world including Tesco and WalMart. 

Jordan Casey (main picture)

Casey began learning code at the age of nine and by 13 he was the CEO of his own video games company. Now 16, the Waterford native has been invited to give TED talks, has launched various startups and is currently in the process of merging his different projects into one business. 

patrick collison

Patrick Collison 

After winning the 2005 Young Scientist competition in Dublin at 16, Collison and his brother John sold their first company for over €3m, becoming overnight millionaires at the ages of 19 and 17 respectively. Today the Limerick brothers’ company Stripe is valued at over $5 billion. 

Article by Peter Flanagan. Main image courtesy of YouTube/TEDxKlagenfurt. Other images from and Patrick Collison.