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New TESA accreditation awarded to leading schools committed to entrepreneurship education

JAI’s inaugural TESA Summit celebrates entrepreneurial schools

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94 primary and second level schools from around the country were celebrated at the inaugural The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit hosted by Microsoft.

The TESA Summit, ably led by Master of Ceremonies Dr. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, was an ideal opportunity to celebrate the work of educators across Ireland in developing entrepreneurial skills in students and to share best practice in a unique and inspiring venue. Entrepreneurship education covers all activities that seek to give individuals the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to achieve the goals they set for themselves to live a fulfilled life.

SON2442 0091A range of specially-commissioned masterclasses were arranged for TESA-certified schools to attend. They included Microsoft’s Educational Transformation workshop, a Design Thinking Sprint led by Professor Jonathan Levie and his team from NUI Galway and a Microsoft workshop on Ed Tech for 21st Century Educators. 

Gort Community School in Co. Galway was announced as the overall winner, the Galway second level school being recognised for its outstanding commitment to entrepreneurship education at the TESA Summit hosted by Microsoft.

As winners of the ‘TESA School of the Year – Microsoft Award’, Gort Community School will receive a prize to the value of €5,000, to further support its work in entrepreneurship education. Nominees of the school will travel to Helsinki to represent Ireland at the Entrepreneurial Schools European conference. The other category award winners, based on enrolment size, were: primary schools Darley National School, Cavan; Our Lady of Consolation School, Dublin 5, and St. Ursula’s Primary School, Waterford. Mercy College Sligo was awarded the top prize for its size among second level schools.

SON2442 0114JAI chief executive Helen Raftery commented on this first awards ceremony saying, “TESA gives schools the opportunity to benchmark themselves against standards of excellence. For our part, it formally recognises the work being done by primary and second level schools across the country in nurturing entrepreneurial skills in students, helping them develop the essential skills, knowledge and attitudes those young people will need to achieve the goals they set for themselves. TESA is also a welcome opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of our partner schools.

Delivering the keynote at the TESA summit, Professor Cooney, Professor in Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin and convenor of the TESA evaluation panel said: “Entrepreneurship education affords many benefits to young people on an individual and team level. Students acquire life-skills such as identifying and evaluating opportunities, using available resources to develop an idea, joining or building a team of people with different abilities, staying positive when faced with challenges, applying creative thinking to solving problems and learning from failure as well as success.

SON2442 0157Gort Community College was selected as the overall winner due to the importance of entrepreneurship education within the school - most student and teachers participate, resources are provided for it and it is deeply rooted in the school’s plan. I congratulate all the schools here today and look forward to supporting their efforts to continue promoting the importance of entrepreneurship education.

TESA was launched by JAI in January of this year with a call for submission of applications from JAI partner schools across Ireland in February. The schools were self-assessed against TESA criteria and completed a submission with the aim to establish themselves as an entrepreneurial school.

Each school that matched the criteria has been publicly recognised for its work in entrepreneurship education and all TESA-certified schools participated in this annual summit enabling educators and innovators to exchange best practice.

Joanne Morrissey, HR Director at Microsoft Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to host the inaugural TESA Summit at One Microsoft Place. The summit provides an important opportunity to recognise the innovative approaches taken by many schools as they look to empower their students to succeed in our digital world. Our ambition at Microsoft Ireland is to empower tomorrow’s leaders to achieve more through the power of technology. Through our digital skills programme, DreamSpace, we have committed to providing 100,000 young people with bespoke digital experiences at our innovation and education hub at our new campus whilst our Education Suite offers a space for teachers to evolve their skillset for the future of education. All of these efforts will help ensure our students leave school ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

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Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Challenge 2019/20

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Galway Students Represent Ireland with Distinction in European Entrepreneurial Competition

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‘SavetheSeas’, a student company from Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán, represented Ireland with distinction at the Junior Achievement (JA) Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019 in Lille, France from 4 – 6 July.

‘SavetheSeas’ was founded by Stephen Connolly, Feidhlim Folan and Eanna Curran as an online retail business which raises money for charities which work to remove plastics from the ocean. As winners of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí in March this year, ‘SavetheSeas’ had the honour of representing Ireland in the prestigious pan-European stage of the competition.

SavetheSeas 2The JA Europe Company of the Year Competition in Lille featured 200+ young entrepreneurs who had qualified at a national-level and were competing for the title of JA Europe Company of the Year. A high-level panel of 10 judges interviewed the contestants and evaluated their approach to communication, teamwork, problem-solving, objective-setting, planning and review, administration and financial systems, personnel management, product development, customer focus, marketing and sales, as well as financial results. Participants also showcased their product or service at an exhibitors stand.

Last year, more than 345,000 students took part in the JA Company Programme across 40 countries. Since its launch in 1919, the JA Company Programme offers students aged 15-18 the opportunity to learn how to move a business idea from concept to reality. Throughout the school year, students produced a product or developed a service, creating their own company and managing their business from start to finish. The overall winner of the JA Company Programme 2019 was Entella Company from Turkey whose product collected waste in the sea.

SavetheSeas 3On their return to Ireland ‘SavetheSeas’ said: “Representing Ireland at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition was amazing and a huge learning curve. We have gone from being 3 ordinary teenagers in Connemara with an interest in technology and ocean and marine welfare to representing our school at national and European level.

During this experience we have interacted with experts in entrepreneurship in local companies and universities to being judged by a jury of international business leaders. We have developed a multitude of skills throughout this project and are very grateful to Údarás na Gaeltachta and Junior Achievement Ireland for this opportunity, which has further inspired and motivated us to continue with our company ‘SavetheSeas’."

Earlier in the school year ‘SavetheSeas’ had competed against more than 750 Transition Year students in seven Gaeltacht regions in Cork, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Meath & Waterford during the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí which is run in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI).

SavetheSeas 5SavetheSeas was mentored by their business studies teacher Máirín Ní Mhainnín and local business volunteer Kathleen McDonagh from GoWest. The students also received workshops on entrepreneurship from John Breslin and Jonathan Levie of the National University of Galway (NUIG).

JAI is a part of JA Europe, the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. This is the first time that winners of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí had the opportunity to take part at the European level of the competition.

This year’s JA Europe Company of the Year Competition was combined with the worldwide centennial celebration of Junior Achievement and the 30th anniversary of the JA Company of the Year Competition.

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Microsoft partners with JAI for the 2019 Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit

TESA celebrates outstanding commitment to entrepreneurship education by schools nationwide while the inaugural TESA Summit establishes a forum in which best practice is recognised and shared.
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Pictured at the launch of The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit to be hosted at One Microsoft Place on 10 October 2019 are (L-R) Paul Byrne, Deputy Director, National Association for Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD); David Ruddy, President, Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN); James O’Connor, Managing Director, Microsoft International Operations and Helen Raftery, CEO, Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI).

Microsoft Ireland will join JAI as the partner for The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit 2019. The Summit will take place on 10 October 2019 and will be the culmination of a nationwide awards initiative which celebrates the work of schools in developing entrepreneurial skills in students. Microsoft will sponsor the overall winning accolade and will also host the inaugural event at One Microsoft Place.

TESA showcases excellence in entrepreneurship education and marks the centenary of Junior Achievement (JA), which reaches out to over 10 million young people worldwide each year.

The initiative celebrates the dedication and achievements of primary and second level schools across the country that nurture entrepreneurial skills in students, helping them develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

SON2175 0024“We are thrilled to announce this partnership, which allows us to plan a worthy celebration of the incredible work being done in schools to prepare students for future successes,” said Helen Raftery, chief executive, JAI.

“The Summit will be staged at the impressive and futuristic Microsoft HQ at One Microsoft Place in Dublin’s Leopardstown on October 10. It will allow educators to exchange best practice and to participate in masterclasses. It will encourage innovation and contribute to the continuous professional development of those working to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship education in our schools.”

All TESA-accredited schools will be eligible to compete for one of the five national category prizes at the Summit, with the overall winner to be presented with ‘TESA School of the Year – Microsoft Award’.  The school deemed Ireland’s most entrepreneurial school will be invited to represent Ireland at the Entrepreneurial Schools Conference in Helsinki later this year.  

According to Eurostat, 6 million low qualified jobs will potentially disappear by 2025 while there is a 46% probability that Irish workers will have their roles automated by the 2030s. Entrepreneurship education (as defined by the European Commission) seeks to prepare students for this changed economy and uncertain future by providing opportunities for young people to develop the ability to think positively, to identify opportunities to make things happen, to have the self-confidence to achieve their goals and to use their talents to build a better society.

JAI’s model of entrepreneurship education utilises the experience of those already in the workforce to complement the work of teachers and families in preparing students to become responsible and enterprising individuals who have the skills, knowledge and attitudes to succeed. By recruiting, training and supporting volunteers from industry to match requests from local teachers, the experience and passion of trained business volunteers are used to great effect.

James O’Connor, managing director of Microsoft International Operations, said JAI’s celebration of entrepreneurship education in Irish schools was one they were delighted to support at their Dublin campus.

“The inaugural TESA Summit provides an important opportunity to recognise the innovative approaches taken by many schools as they look to empower their students to succeed in our digital world.

“Our ambition at Microsoft Ireland is to empower tomorrow’s leaders to achieve more through the power of technology. Through our digital skills programme, DreamSpace, we have committed to providing 100,000 young people with bespoke digital experiences at our innovation and education hub at our new campus whilst our recent partnership with DCU has empowered 400 student teachers to deliver coding sessions in Irish schools. All of these efforts will help ensure our students leave school ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

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HSBC continues to be focused on More Than Money

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For the 11th year HSBC Global has partnered with Junior Achievement Worldwide to deliver a financial literacy and entrepreneurship programme to 11-12 year olds. Aptly named More than Money, students use innovative thinking to learn money-management skills that support positive attitudes as they explore and enhance their career aspirations and their understanding of entrepreneurship.

In Ireland, 1,700 students have participated in More Than Money through in-class programmes and workshops with 70 volunteers from many of our supporting organisations since the beginning of the academic year.

MTM 3In November and then again in March, students from St. Patrick’s Boys National School and Presentation Primary School, George’s Hill descended into HSBC offices at Grand Canal for a morning of financial literacy and entrepreneurship activities. Volunteers learning almost as much as students about being a SMART consumer, entrepreneurial skills, and saving, earning, and spending their well-earned money.

Liz Costello, a teacher inPresentation Primary School said “The girls very much enjoyed the workshop and the interactions with the staff. It was a great experience for the pupils to learn outside of the school environment. As a DEIS school, it exposed them to a different experience and enabled them to work to their best ability.”

Students started off by deciding they should save up to donate money to charity, help the homeless, buy presents for their parents or spend all their money on sweets! Competitiveness came out in droves as students played the More Than Money monopoly style board game, totted up their bingo scores, and created their own successful company.

A student from St. Patrick’s Boys National School best summarised the experience: “The volunteers were very nice and it was very enjoyable. Thank You to Junior Achievement Ireland and HSBC Bank.”

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