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Entrepreneurship Education: Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP)

Real life learning for children:
The CDU is the academic partner of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) since 2010. Led by Jerry Kennelly of and Marie Lynch, Managing Director of JEP, this innovative programme has given more than 100,000 primary school pupils in Ireland the opportunity to experience practical, real-life business learning as part of their primary education.

Group photo of JEP participants and teachers at Bishop Harty Primary School, Nenagh.

What is JEP?

The CDU in Mary Immaculate College has been the academic partner to JEP since it was originally developed and piloted in Kerry in 2010. Led by Jerry Kennelly of in partnership with Marie Lynch, Dr. Jerry Clifford and Fiona Stack of Radio Kerry, JEP was originally piloted by Dr. Breda Dwyer of the Institute of Technology Tralee and Eucharia McCarthy, Director CDU in 29 schools in Kerry in 2010. Since that time, Jerry Kennelly and Marie Lynch have spearheaded the growth and expansion of JEP which is now the largest primary school entrepreneurship programme in Ireland. Delivered in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, and endorsed by Ireland's leading entrepreneurs, JEP is underwritten by and JEP's media partner is RTE. For further information, testimonials and videos of pupils sharing their experiences of JEP, visit the JEP website here.

An Academically Approved Approach

JEP has been developed in collaboration with Mary Immaculate College. The programme materials have also been reviewed and welcomed by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). Every aspect of the JEP programme is closely aligned with the primary curriculum and linkages are clearly outlined in the Teacher's Guide. JEP facilitates the delivery of the Curriculum in an innovative way, promoting creativity, problem-solving, leadership skills, collaborative learning, and project management skills. This means the pupils are learning new life skills while covering their core subjects in a fun and engaging way. Running over a 12 to 16 week period during the school year, JEP nurtures independence among pupils of all abilities, with every aspect of the Programme seamlessly blending into the primary school curriculum. JEP is provided free of charge to all participating schools.

Bows ‘n’ Bandanas from Capulanas
Bows ‘n’ Bandanas from Capulanas
Junior Entrepreneur participants, 6th Class Scoil íde, Corbally, Limerick.

“One of the key changes in the approaches of the classroom entrepreneurs has been the realisation that their entrepreneurial endeavours can make a difference in their locality. As a result, they’ve embraced the concept of social entrepreneurship, funded by their successful classroom businesses.”
Programme Co-founder Marie Lynch

Multi-Sports Stand
Multi-Sports Stand
Junior Entrepreneur participants, 5th & 6th Class Bishop Harty NS, Ballinree, Co. Tipperary.

Start a Real Business in the Classroom

Under their teacher’s guidance, and with the inspiration of local entrepreneurs, children discover their strengths as individuals and as part of a team. Together, they choose, invest in and produce their own product or service from scratch, all the way to making it available for sale at a school-hosted JEP Showcase Day – and enjoying or sharing the profits at the end.

Supporting our teachers

Teachers are provided with a classroom kit which gives them everything they need to deliver the programme. There’s online, email and telephone support for teachers as well as regular webinars. Teachers decide whether JEP is appropriate for their classes.

100,000 participants

Over 100,000 children have started classroom businesses since the Junior Entrepreneur Programme launched in 2010. Thousands of Irish entrepreneurs have mentored the 5th and 6th class primary school pupils while they create, invest in and launch mini businesses in their schools throughout the island of Ireland.

The businesses created by the participating pupils have achieved sales of almost €3 million, with a significant proportion of the profits being donated to local charities.