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


The JEP programme is being supported by some of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs, including Mash Direct in County Down. Now a nationwide programme, JEP aims to sign up 10,000 junior entrepreneurs from primary schools in every region across the country.  With a deadline looming of September 12th, primary schools are invited to sign up now for the highly successful entrepreneurship programme.


“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.


The JEP programme is being sponsored by Mash Direct in County Down, and it is hoped that a record number of primary school children will participate in the programme this year.


“This is a fantastic opportunity for school children in County Down and we are delighted to be a part of it.  I would strongly encourage primary schools in the area to get involved as there is absolutely 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. This year’s progamme will no doubt be a thoroughly enjoyable and educational experience for both pupils and teachers alike and we can’t wait to see what our creative young entrepreneurs of the future come up with.  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 throughout Ireland” said County Partner and Managing Director of Mash Direct, Martin Hamilton.


JEP participants develop confidence and skills in presentation, drawing, technology, research, numeracy as well as problem solving, collaboration and brand and consumer 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.


The programme, which was rolled out nationally last year, proved hugely successful and signed up more than 5,000 primary school children.  This year, the target for JEP is to double the numbers and bring entrepreneurship to more than 400 schools and 10,000 pupils.


"The expansion of JEP from a local programme in Kerry and Limerick to a national programme has been made 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" said Mr. Kennelly.


The JEP programme, which was developed in association with academic partner, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, is perfectly aligned with the primary school curriculum and uses an integrated teaching and project-based approach.


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.


To sign up, schools must complete the JEP School agreement, which can be found, and return it to Mash Direct, 81 Ballyrainey Road, Comber, Newtownards, Co. Down, BT23 5JU before Friday, 12th September 2014.