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When it comes to entrepreneurship training starting ’em young could be the answer, according to new research.

A study of 330 schools in Ireland found that 87 per cent of teachers saw an increase in the confidence in children participating in the Junior Entrepreneurship Programme. A further 66 per cent reported that taking part in the programme improved children’s communication skills and the ability to work as a team.

Other skills that were among the key benefits identified by teachers in the children taking part in the programme supported by some of Ireland’s top entrepreneurs, including Jerry Kennelly, Anne Heraty and David Walsh, were decision making and presentation skills.

The Junior Entrepreneurship Programme is a 10 to 16 week programme for primary school students in Ireland and Norther Ireland. Children are introduced to entrepreneurship, will meet a local businessperson to learn from them and even get to make, market, and sell a product as a business. Last year, 48 per cent of these businesses were in the arts, craft and design area, 23 per cent were in the food and beverage sector, and 12 per cent were in print and publishing.

More than 10,000 primary school children across Ireland and Northern Ireland took part in the Junior Entrepreneurship Programme last year, and this year the numbers are expected to increase significantly, with more and more schools seeing the benefits of training children in entrepreneurial skills from a young age.

This latest research shows how much children can benefit from the Junior Entrepreneurship Programme. Introducing children to entrepreneurship and creating a ‘can do’ culture from an early age not only helps with self esteem and personal development, but it also enables students to better understand subject choices and make career decisions at secondary school level,”Jerry Kennelly said.

“The Junior Entrepreneurship Programme provides a real opportunity for children … Developing a real understanding and love for turning business ideas and concepts into reality will not only provide children with opportunities in the future but will also support job creation and economic development in Ireland.”

For more on the education of future entrepreneurs, check out the Disruptors section, where we’re looking at the future of education in the run up to our Disruptors event on October 2nd.

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