Monday, 2 May 2016

New Government Urged to Make Enterprise Education an Integral Part of Teacher Training

BizWorld Ireland, the not-for-profit organisation that delivers free enterprise workshops in primary schools nationwide, has called on the incoming Government to make enterprise education an integral part of primary-school teacher training programmes.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual BIZ Factor competition in Dublin today (28.04.16), BizWorld Ireland CEO Fiona McKeon said: “Education plays a significant role in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, yet business programmes are not traditionally offered at primary level. If we want to instil a spirit of entrepreneurship in children from a young age, we need enterprise education to be an integral part of primary-school teacher training.

“Our idea is to establish an optional BizWorld ‘train the trainer’ module on all Bachelor in Education degree courses and work with all primary-school teacher training institutions to ensure the delivery of at least one BizWorld workshop becomes a standard output of all teaching practice placements.

'This is a simple and cost-effective idea that would provide the next generation of primary-school teachers with the tools necessary to engage and excite young students about entrepreneurship. We’re calling on the incoming Government to recognise the value of enterprise education in primary schools and to work with us to make this idea a reality.

“We’ve already pioneered this approach with great success with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick and NUI Maynooth in Kildare, where we train students in the delivery of the BizWorld programme for primary schools. The beauty of the partnerships is that we’re not just delivering workshops in primary schools; we’re also training future teachers in how to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the classroom on an ongoing basis.”

Annual BIZ Factor Competition
Ms. McKeon was speaking at BizWorld Ireland’s annual BIZ Factor competition, in which eight schools showcased their business ideas and pitched ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to a judging panel of high-profile figures from the worlds of enterprise and education. All of the finalist schools had participated in a BizWorld Ireland workshop earlier this year.

The judging panel for today’s event included: BizWorld Ireland Ambassador and founder of Casey Games Jordan Casey; entrepreneur and investor on RTE’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, Gavin Duffy; Group Managing Director at Alternatives, Charley Stoney; Head of External Collaboration at ESB, John McKiernan; and MD at Irish TV, Mairéad Ni Mhaoilchiaráin.

‘Mind and Body’, a business idea from pupils from Scoil Mhuire NS, Broadford was awarded Enterprise of the Year at the competition by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh. The business is a board game that aims to give both the mind and body a work-out.

The other seven finalists were:

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Janesboro, Limerick with ‘Mop Socks’. Mop Socks are brightly coloured socks with mops attached to the sole which allow you to clean your floor simply by walking around.
St Michael’s NS, Castlepollard Westmeath with ‘Eazy Keyz’, an app that links your piano with a smart device to help you learn to play by lighting up the keys of your piano.
Gaelscoil Sáirséal, Limerick with ‘Bye Bye to Bullying’, a workshop presentation about how to deal with bullying that is available for schools throughout the country to use in their classrooms.
St Marys College Junior School, Dublin 6 with ‘Gymlets’, a family gym that includes a health food shop and a sports clothes shop.
SN Chreachmhaoil, Craughwell, Galway with ‘Safety Net’, a button built into all social media platforms that children can click to automatically send an email to their parents if they witness cyberbullying.

Scoil Mhuire, Shankill, Dublin 18 with ‘Zoo and You’, an educational app with live zoo video feeds and animal themed games and crafts including instructions on how to make origami animals.
Our Lady’s Grove Primary School, Dublin 14 with ‘Daasie & Co’. Daasie & Co present a sensor for the doors of the Luas which tags passengers of and off automatically with their Leap Card to reduce the number of people who dodge fairs or simply forget.

Congratulating the students participating, Ms. McKeon said, “I warmly congratulate our budding entrepreneurs who participated in BIZ Factor this morning, particularly ‘Mind and Body’, which is a shining example of a creative business idea that contributes to society. The fifth and sixth class pupils who participated in the competition today are naturally curious and are bursting with ideas, imagination and creativity. Clearly, primary school is an ideal time to get children thinking about entrepreneurship and to start equipping them with relevant skills so that, in the future, they might take that courageous decision to start their own business.”

Business Partnerships

Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups, delivered a keynote address at today’s event.

“The future of business in Ireland is in the hands of young entrepreneurs like the great contestants we see here today at Bizworld,” she said. “They are the role models of a future generation and their potential for themselves and for Ireland is immense. It's also encouraging to see how engaged our current business leaders are in educating the future generations. Working together, we can speed Ireland's growth in the global digital economy.”

BIZ Factor 2016 was sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Local Enterprise Office, Limerick Local Enterprise Office, pharmaceutical company AptarGroup, estate agents Twomey and Associates and mediation consultants Equita. The event took place as part of Tech Week, Ireland’s nationwide festival of technology, which is taking place this week.