Eight national schools from Waterford City and County recently took part in the LEAP programme, in conjunction with Local Enterprise Office Waterford.
The programme saw 4th and 5th class students from Gael Scoil Philib Barún, Butlerstown NS, ChristChurch NS, Waterpark NS, St. Stephen’s De La Salle, St. Paul’s NS, Faithlegg NS and Abbeyside NS embarking on an early stage entrepreneurship journey that lasted several months and culminated in them pitching their business ideas at WIT’s School of Business.
The LEAP programme was developed by JAI and Local Enterprise Office Waterford in 2014 and has harnessed strong partnerships between leading organisations and schools. Designed to encourage ‘early-stage entrepreneurship’ with national school students, this year’s programme saw the students mentored by local business volunteers.
Volunteers Laura Caulfield (Manor St. John), Peter Barry (Waterford Credit Union), Danielle Kennedy (Lloyds Hair), Claire Coppinger (Bluefin), Christine Rossiter (Dawn Meats), Helen Payne (ORAFOL), Laura McGibney (Coaching4U) and Regina Mangan (Liberty Blue) delivered a series of activity-based enterprise education workshops in the eight schools to help the students develop their business ideas.
Jacqui Gaule of LEO Waterford said “This is our fourth year supporting the LEAP initiative and the levels of enthusiasm, dedication and entrepreneurship displayed by the students is so refreshing. For LEO Waterford, an agency tasked with encouraging, nurturing and supporting entrepreneurship, it is great to see the seeds of enterprise been sown at such an early age and as part of primary schools’ curricular activities.”
“We are delighted to partner with Junior Achievement Ireland on this wonderful project, as it continues to foster the spirit of enterprise to Waterford’s young students.”
The two-day event was opened by Minister John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation and the students pitched their business ideas to local business people, who were FROGS for a day (For Recognition of Greatness in Students).
Each student was awarded a Certificate of Achievement to recognise their participation and one team in each school was given a special plaque to mark their outstanding contribution to LEAP.
Denise Power, JAI Area Manager, South East said: “We are delighted to partner with LEO Waterford and local businesses on the LEAP project. It is a fantastic journey for students to learn the basics of entrepreneurship and develop their own business ideas with the support of entrepreneurs from the local community.”
“These mentors have shared their own real life experiences with the students and inspired and motivated them to become future entrepreneurs in the making. The students’ visit to WIT was a wonderful opportunity for them to pitch their ideas to business professionals for the first time outside the classroom and see how products could enter the market and impact their local community.”