The mission of Tweak is to democratize design and to make it easier for entrepreneurs across the world to have their businesses look great in print and digital. It’s no surprise then that this passion for entrepreneurship is reflected in Tweak’s corporate social responsibility activity.
Our founder, Jerry Kennelly, is a serial entrepreneur who started his career in the family newspaper publishing business. He’s been a mentor to hundreds of start-ups and along with his co-founders set up a number of not-for-profit organizations to support entrepreneurship in schools and colleges as well as an accelerator called Endeavour.
Tweak has been the lead sponsor for JEP (Junior Entrepreneur Programme) since it was founded in 2010. The programme facilitates middle school children aged eleven and twelve to learn about entrepreneurship, meet local entrepreneurs and creatively come up with their own individual ideas for classroom start-ups. The children then learn about their own skills and abilities and form teams for finance, marketing and sales. As local entrepreneurs help out with a ‘Dragons’ session, the children get to decide which of the thirty or so ideas they are going to focus on and create a market research program in their community. At this point, each child makes an investment in the classroom business and gets to work – just like a grown up startup.
JEP aims to give the bright young minds of Irish school children an opportunity to be creative and exercise their entrepreneurial aspirations. JEP has been involved in helping more than 50,000 school students in Ireland have the opportunity to experience practical business learning. The Programme lasts between 12 to 16 weeks during the school year and fits in seamlessly to the pre-existing school curriculum.
JEP has a significant impact on Irish society and community by involving more than 12,000 students across 450 different primary schools a year.
Under the guidance of the class teacher and with the help of local entrepreneurs, children can discover their creative strengths and work as part of a group. Schools can participate for free and work towards selecting and developing a product or service of their own and making it available for sale at a school-hosted JEP Showcase Day. In June of 2018, students had the opportunity to showcase their products in an All-Ireland Showcase Day at the Royal Dublin Society. This was a highly successful day, attended by more than 140 primary schools who gained information through workshops and awards.
The key priorities for the members of the Programme board is for the children to gain real business experience, confidence and a reinforcement of the subjects already taught in schools. The Programme does not take additional time, outside the regular curriculum of the school and can be implemented into every single school subject and taught in conjunction with regular practical exercises.
Throughout the Programme the children to invest a small amount of money into developing their own product or service. In 2017, the children who took part earned more than €230,000 of profit, which the children used a group to fund school trips or divided among the class.
The Junior Entrepreneur Programme is privately funded and operates on a local basis by some of Ireland’s most successful and well-known entrepreneurs including Pallas Foods, Netwatch and ATA Group.