60% of 11 and 12 year old children say that they would like to be an entrepreneur in the future, with more girls than boys choosing this career path.
This is according to a survey of 8,000 children who spent 12-16 weeks creating classroom businesses on the Junior Entrepreneur Programme in 2019.
Across 26 counties on the island of Ireland, 60% of girls said they would choose entrepreneurship as their career, while 53% of boys said the same.
The survey shows that children in Co Tyrone had the highest aspirations to become entrepreneurs with 77% of girls and 69% of boys there expressing an interest in such a career.
At the bottom of the survey was Westmeath, where just 46% of the children polled had aspirations to become entrepreneurs – 38% of boys and 65% of girls.
As part of the programme, every child put forward their own idea for the classroom business and a shortlist of ideas were pitched to Dragons from their local community.
The Dragons selected one business idea which the whole class then got behind.
Each one of the children involved in the programme invested in their classroom business and was rewarded with a share of the profits from successful businesses.
The children invested their own money to launch the classroom businesses which had sales of €320,264 in 2019 and which produced a net profit of €198,215.
“At 11 or 12 years of age children get a chance to learn about entrepreneurship, meet entrepreneurs in their local area and each child comes up with a business idea in 12 weeks,” commented entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly, who leads the programme and whose company sponsors JEP.
“It’s just a like a real start-up business, with pupils allocated to market research, marketing, sales, finance and production. Every child invests a small amount of money and reaps the profits from the enterprise.
“They learn fast when they are talking about their own money,” Mr Kennelly added.
67,000 children have taken part in the programme since it was launched in 2010.
Leitrim, Waterford, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Donegal and Armagh were not included in the survey results because of insufficient data.
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