Young Limerick entrepreneurs follow in the footsteps of Collison brothers

 More than 600 children from 22 County Limerick schools showcase their entrepreneurial spirit in Adare

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Young Limerick entrepreneurs follow in the footsteps of Collison brothers

Pupils from St Nicholas NS, Adare, developed three games in one – an innovative combination of a jigsaw and board game of Ireland and a computer app which teaches students the counties of Ireland

HIGH-FLYING John and Patrick Collison will represent Limerick and Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in June — and judging by the talent and vision on display in Adare last week there are more local stars poised to follow in their footsteps.

This year’s Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) received entries from 22 primary schools in County Limerick. Over 600 boys and girls came up with imaginative ideas which included board games, dream catchers, chocolate lollipops, calendars, playing cards, clocks, apps and a website to name but a few.

One of the most original titles was Castleconnell National School’s Let’s Get Emojinal! They capitalised on the growing popularity of the smiley characters by making keyrings.

Elaine O’Mahoney, of Monaleen National School, said it was a fantastic project. “The children engaged enthusiastically with the concept from the outset. The project integrates with many aspects of the curriculum especially English and Maths, however, they've also had the opportunity to develop skills in IT, marketing, manufacturing, sales, customer service and finance. Suddenly, they are interested in calculating percentages and working out profit and loss! From a social aspect the entire project promotes the development of teamwork and collaborative skills and it encourages creative thinking. Overall it's been a hugely worthwhile activity,” said Ms O’Mahoney.

The programme was founded by Jerry Kennelly, of Tweak.com, and developed by the Institute of Technology in Tralee, Mary Immaculate College and Shannon Development to bring entrepreneurship into primary schools. Participating schools showcased their completed projects in Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel last week.

Diarmuid Geary, co-founder of Pallas Foods and sponsor, said: “These 11 and 12-year-old business people are just as enthusiastic and capable as more seasoned business people and I’d be very confident for Limerick’s future under their watch. The objective was to stimulate an enterprise culture and I am delighted that this programme is making such a positive impact in this regard and it was clear to see at the county showcase days.” Mary Fitzgerald, of the Woodlands, a JEP Limerick partner, said: “It was fantastic to see all the children displaying their products and services and interacting with each other about their businesses. It was clear to see that this programme creates a real entrepreneurial flair in the children and does wonders in developing skills and self-confidence.”