Tipperary boys turn school into Dragons’ Den

The Monastery CBS in Tipperary town turned into a Dragons’ Den recently as fifth class pupils collaborated on a range of amazing innovations during their two-day Bizworld workshop.

An interactive hoodie-top charger, a rewindable radio to relisten to your favourite songs and a local Tipperary trivia game were among the ideas formulated by the budding entrepreneurs.

The ideas were then pitched to local Dragon John Cooney, Tipperary town branch manager of Bank of Ireland, who are one of Bizworld’s proud supporters.

During the two-day Bizworld workshop, tutored by Hannah Flynn, the children split into groups, each developing their own mini enterprise.
Bizworld is a not-for-profit organisation, chaired by Gavin Duffy, that promotes entrepreneurship skills for children at fifth class level.

It delivers simple workshops where pupils learn about money management and enterprise in a supportive and creative atmosphere.

Pupils are taken through the entire entrepreneurial cycle – from company formation and applying for jobs in their companies, to market research with younger classes in the school, and then designing, producing and marketing their business idea.

They learn about pitching for investment and get the opportunity to do so in real-life to a visiting Dragon who hears each company’s pitch and decides how many BizBucks to invest in their company.

Over 40,000 children have taken part in their free workshops around the country in the past two years, with more than 200 schools hosting programmes this year.

“Bizworld aims to address the lack of business education in primary schools and feed the students’ appetites for making commercial subject choices at second level,” said Bizworld CEO Fiona McKeon.

“Every secondary school subject is touched on at some point in the primary cycle except business, and if you haven’t been exposed to it, you are less likely to choose it as a discipline.

“One of the first things we ask at the start of a Bizworld workshop is whether students would pick business in secondary school – we usually get four to six hands at the start, and by the end of the two days it generally trebles.

“The Bizworld experience is 50% entrepreneurship and business education and 50% personal growth empowerment, which enables confidence collaboration and team building.

“We are reaching students at a stage when their enthusiasm is in abundance because in many cases, that spontaneity and creativity is sealed in a box for secondary school and never opened again.

“Through my own experience as an educator, I know this may be the only collaborative project that the students work on between now and the end of secondary school, so it is vital that they have a good experience.

“In the Bizworld workshops, every child communicates, negotiates and helps to develop a socially responsible business in a fully-inclusive manner.

“Everybody gets a director’s role in the company that suits their personality and skills, from marketing to design, sales and finance.

“The experience consistently helps children to understand their strengths, ambitions and future potential.

“The Bizworld business plan has a simple structure and mirrors the real-life experience and challenges of setting up a business.

“Our idea is not to produce products, simply to inspire and give children the confidence to say what is in their heads.

“Some of the fantastic ideas we have seen over the past few months include a happy thoughts journal, a 50 cent tray for people who need a small amount of household essentials, gluten-free vending machines, a global warming awareness board game, a cycle safe indicator, a hair lice detection brush and a cattle break-out app.

To register a school for Bizworld, see bizworldireland.org.


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