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St. Mary's Primary School, Carland, Dungannon, County Tyrone


24th May 2019

Our ambitious pupils have shown ‘the passion, drive and commitment to bring a business to fruition,’ as stated by Kerry entrepreneur, Jerry Kennelly. This was evident from their success of their Junior Entrepreneur Project, which earned them the Community Champions Award, at this year’s JEP Showcase at the RDS on Monday 20th May.

Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) has given more than 67,000 primary school pupils on the island of Ireland the opportunity to experience practical, real-life business learning as part of their formative education.

JEP is a real life entrepreneurship skills programme for primary school children. It nurtures independence, creativity and problem solving and engages pupils of all abilities, helping them to appreciate their own unique skills and to successfully create a real business through teamwork.

The pupils decided on their final product after pitching their ideas to ‘The Dragons,’ in true Dragon’s Den style. Chatterboxes was seen as a clear winner, owing to its relevance and appeal to all ages.

The concept of Chatterboxes is quite simple. A box of 31 cards, printed with 62 conversation starters to encourage you to strike up a conversation and have fun.

A P7 pupil explains, ‘We saw an increasing problem of phones and tablets being overused in our homes and when we were out and about. People can no longer talk to each other. We decided to design conversation cards – to bring the art of conversation back.’

‘The conversation cards were a lot of fun to make, we had a great time testing them out and deciding on our favourites. I think they will be great fun around the dinner table or if you were out in a restaurant, instead of sitting on a phone or device. They will definitely bring a smile to your face!’

Principal of St. Mary’s, Mrs Martina Martin said, "Winning a national prize is a huge achievement and this is a proud day for St. Mary’s. Great credit is due to the P7 class and their teacher Mrs. Girvan for all their hard work with the Junior Entrepreneur Programme. The whole process was a wonderful experience for the children in how to develop a business - empowering young people to turn ideas into reality.’

The school would also like to thank Ronnie Mc Geary from who visited the class to offer advice and guidance to the children as they began their entreprenurial journey and to John Gill, Gill Print, Dungannon, for his professonal and prompt service to get the cards produced for the completion of the product.

16,000 pupils & 700 schools took part in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme and 220 schools were represented at the RDS Showcase day in May which was hosted by RTE’s Marty Morrissey.