About the “Entrepreneurs from our school” competition

This competition is for Polish speaking school children.

School pupils at Primary (Szkoła podstawowa), Secondary (Gimnazjum) and High school (Szkoła średnia) can win 500 zl if they find, interview and publish interviews with alumni from their school who have achieved success and/or established a business. Judges will select the best inteviews and those on the web site can vote for the interviews they think are best.

This competition has several major objectives, we want to:

  • Encourage children to be active, develop their self confidence and research skills, learn how to communicate intelligently with adults and learn about the world of business;
  • Encourage business people to support the schools that they used to attend, and to make them feel appreciated and valued;
  • Encourage schools to celebrate the successes of their alumni and to consider using them to help with teaching their current pupils;
  • Challenge negative stereotypes of business, through bringing children into contact with business people who are ready to give time for free as volunteers
  • Introduce no cost ways of improving education in Poland through using resources that are available but under utilized;
  • Provide children with positive role models, of people who studied in the same classrooms as they do, and have now done something impressive with their lives.

While these are ambitious aims, it is also a pilot project. We want to do the competition, learn the lessons, and do it better next year, maybe roll out worldwide in other languages. This year we are allowing schoolchildren to interview business people who did not go to their school this time round, so that even if there are no entrepreneurs able or willing to help in a particular school children can still go in.

The prizes will be awarded during this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2011.

Richard Lucas, competition organiser, British businessman long term Cracow resident, and member of the Global Entrepreneurship Week Honorary Committee for Poland said:

Poland does not yet have a strong tradition of school alumni helping their schools as volunteers. Schools seldom celebrate the successes of their alumni. When I see British schools and universities organising events with their alumni for the benefit of their pupils that cost no money, I think “why not in Poland?” which after all in a less wealthy country.

Alumni school links do not require tax payer or EU subsidy. They are sustainable and can carry on even when tax payer money runs out. There is no bureaucracy, and the benefit for school children can be very high. It’s much better to hear about the world of business from a businessman, journalism from a journalist etc. than a career training organisation. It’s good that we are working with Primary Schools as well as schools for older children. Many people in Poland instinctively think that that 6-7 year old pupils are “too young” to learn about enterprise. This way of thinking has its roots in old Marxist, pessemistic and feudal beliefs about work being a necessary evil, rather than being part of what gives life its meaning. Young children are just as capable of understanding about work and business as older people, sometimes even more so. If Poland wants to compete to her maximum potential in the global economy, she needs future generations to have a positive attitude to work and enterprise. Bringing former alumni back into schools who have achieved something and are ready to donate their time for free is a powerful positive role model. Who knows how many of today’s children have the potential to start a business employing 5, 50 or even thousands of people, provided someone shows up in their classroom at tells them it can be done, and that person is credible because they have already done it.

If you want to help, please encourage adults who are doing something impressive who are ready to be interviewed to register. If you know any school children in your network of family and friends encourage them to enter.

An enterprising adult is anyone who has achieved something, not necessarily in business. We are celebrating success in all forms, not just in business.

If you want to do more, track me down via this web site or at my personal web site.

Richard Lucas