The deadline is approaching for the 2018 edition of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme. Founded in 2010 by Jerry Kennelly, the programme has now expanded across the country and involves tens of thousands of primary school children starting up and running their own businesses.

Mr Kennelly said that teachers can sign up their students for the Junior Entrepreneur Programme, which allows children to set up a business in their classroom. The businesses include the making of arts and craft items to sell or a service like dog-walking or car-washing. Mr Kennelly said the programme teaches children about real business life while they also learn how to develop their own skills. They break into teams, just like a real start-up business, where they decide on one idea and turn that into a reality.  

Children invest their own money in the scheme and they get it back with profit, according to Mr Kennelly. The 2017 programme saw sales of €320,000 and net profits of €230,000 and while it is not all about the money, he said it makes the business very real to the participants. Mr Kennelly said that teachers have noticed that as children are dealing with money, Maths becomes very practical to them while it also reinforces other subjects including English, art and team-work. Teachers are also seeing a boost in students' confidence and creativity, he added. Children who take part get to meet a local business person which tends to make a big impact on them and shows that how the "real world" works.

MORNING BRIEFS - Building materials group Kingspan has acquired a majority stake in Brazilian firm Isoeste for an undisclosed sum. Isoeste is an insulated panel maker with four factories employing over 600 staff and which expects to generate sales of over €130m this year. This is the third significant investment in Latin America for Kingspan in the past 12 months. In April the company bought another insulated panel maker in Colombia, while it has also built a new plant in Mexico.

*** Real estate investment firm Hines has lodged planning permission for a major mixed use development including over 1,200 apartments at Cherrywood in Dublin. The apartments will be build-to-rent, however, meaning there will be no owner-occupiers in the development. Hines is seeking permission for a 2.1 million square foot plan including the apartments as well as retail, restaurants and cafés at the south Dublin site. Hines and King Street Capital paid over €250m to buy the site from receivers appointed by Dankse Bank, Lloyds and NAMA.

*** The number of mortgages approved in August was up 15% compared to the same month last year. New figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland also show the value of approvals was 25% higher.

*** France's Alstom, maker of the trams which run on Dublin's Luas light rail system, is throwing in its lot with German rival Siemens. The two are merging their rail operations. Between them Siemens and Alstom had sales of over €15 billion last year and earnings of €1.2 billion.