The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) & Summit

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Junior Achievement Ireland Launches TESA – an Initiative to Support & Recognise Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education in Schools

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The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) will recognise outstanding commitment to entrepreneurship education, defined as all educational activities ‘that seek to prepare people to be responsible, enterprising individuals who have the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to prepare them to achieve the goals they set for themselves to live a fulfilled life’ (Entrepreneurship Education: A road to success. European Commission 2015).

Each school matching the criteria will be publicly recognised for its work in entrepreneurship education. All TESA-certified schools will participate in an annual summit enabling educators and innovators to exchange best practice and to participate in specially-commissioned masterclasses. The summit will encourage innovation and support the continuous professional development of those providing opportunities for entrepreneurship education in our schools.


Entrepreneurship education aims to provide 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 (economically and socially).

Junior Achievement (JA) programmes comprise defined learning outcomes, including the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills, while a key design principle is the involvement of business volunteers, thus underlining each programme’s relevance to the ‘real’ world.

Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) builds partnerships across education and industry to enable students to access meaningful entrepreneurship opportunities, both in their own schools and in other learning environments, such as workplaces and third level institutions.

TESA 2019 +

Increasing access is key – less than 5% of students across Europe (ca. 6% in Ireland) access entrepreneurship education, yet the returns on investment are significant and well-established. Building TESA will recognise the work of those schools and their communities in promoting best practice in entrepreneurship education and will, over time, ensure more and more students in schools in Ireland are provided with access to these valuable learning opportunities.

At the annual summit on entrepreneurship education, each TESA-certified school will receive its public citation, while a prize fund valued at over €10,000 will be awarded to ‘best-in-class’, sectoral winners. As part of a global organisation, JAI is pleased to offer the school designated as the TESA School of the Year, the opportunity to represent Ireland and join educators from all over Europe at The Entrepreneurial School (TES) Awards, one of the largest entrepreneurship education initiatives in Europe, co-funded by the European Commission. In 2019 the European TES Award event will take place in Helsinki.


  • The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) was launched on January 29th 2019.
  • A call for entries will issue by mid-February to all JA partner schools.
  • Applicant schools self-assess against the published criteria and complete a submission to establish their credentials as an Entrepreneurial School. (See checklist below.)
  • All schools will be invited to submit the required material by end of May.
  • An assessment process will verify that the submission matches the criteria, thus establishing the school’s suitability for inclusion in TESA.
  • The outcomes of the TESA verification process to issue to schools by mid-September.
  • All schools designated as TESA-certified 2019 will be invited to a summit on entrepreneurship education in early October, incorporating a celebratory event.
  • An evaluation panel will select sectoral winners and form the shortlist for the overall award.
  • The panel of entrepreneurship education experts will also decide the overall winner.
  • At the summit in October, the TESA School of the Year (overall winner) will be announced.
  • TESA School of the Year will travel to Europe to represent Ireland at The Entrepreneurial School (TES) Conference in Helsinki in November 2019.

TESA Process


Schools will be invited to complete a self-assessment checklist using the following criteria:

  • JA programmes included in co-curricular activities.
  • Entrepreneurship education activities involve most teachers and students.
  • The school has a vision and a plan for entrepreneurship education.
  • There are specific resources allocated to entrepreneurship education.
  • Active support for teachers’ cpd and training within entrepreneurship education.
  • The school includes the local community and business sector in the activities.
  • ‘Our school should be named “TESA School of the Year” because…’ i.e. describe why the school should receive the highest accolade and represent Ireland at European TES event.


  • Special citation as TESA-certified i.e. actively engaged in entrepreneurship education.
  • Participation in the annual summit – a conference and celebratory event to exchange good ideas and encourage innovation in Irish schools while recognising the work of educators and local partners in promoting best practice in entrepreneurship education.
  • Sectoral winners – with primary and second level categorized according to enrollment – will receive cash prizes to be reinvested in their entrepreneurship education programmes.
  • Each sectoral winner will be included in the shortlist for overall winner.
  • Overall Winner (TESA School of the Year) will be invited to participate (all expenses paid) in a study trip to the European TES Awards.
  • TESA-certified schools will feature in media campaigns at local, sectoral and national level.

For further information please contact [email protected].


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