Ergo chief calls for Irish schools to teach entrepreneurial skills
29 October 2014 | 0
Chief executive of IT solutoins provider Ergo John Purdy has called on the Department of Education to explore ways of making entrepreneurialism part of the school curriculum. The winner of the 2014 EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year said skills should be taught in classrooms that could have a significant impact on the future of the Irish economy.
Purdy is already involved in nurturing young entrepreneurs through the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP), a not-for-profit initiative that brings entrepreneurial learning into primary school classrooms.
To date, JEP has more than 160 participating schools with over 5,000 pupils in 22 counties. Primarily aimed at fifth and sixth class students, it runs over a 10-12 week period. Purdy is county sponsor for JEP in Meath.
“I have seen first-hand how bringing out the entrepreneurial skills of young people can ignite their imaginations,” Purdy said. “Not only would structured classes benefit individuals, they would cultivate a belief in Ireland that running your own business is an acceptable ambition that should be encouraged at every level.”
Speaking at last week’s EY award ceremony last week, Purdy alluded to the kind of support that encouraged him to start Ergo. “When I told my mother I was setting up the business, I said ‘what if I fail?’ Her answer was: ‘just get up and go again’. She was the initial inspiration behind what we do.”
A firm believer that entrepreneurship can be taught, Purdy described his participation Enterprise Ireland programme Leadership 4 Growth as “life changing”.
“It gave me the confidence needed to take some substantial risks and reappraise my ambition. I don’t see why something similar can’t happen to school pupils at a much earlier age,” he said.
Under Purdy’s stewardship, Ergo has created 120 new jobs and expanded its overseas operation in the five years.