The Solas Project is an initiative which aims to provide purposeful activities in a caring and secure home-like environment for children at risk of leaving school early due to social and educational disadvantages. In 2013 Savills Ireland and Solas Project came together to run a five week “Dragons’ Den” style programme for fifth class students in CBS Francis St, Dublin 8.
The programme was an initiative to encourage the students to learn more about entrepreneurship and the world of business. Over the course of the five weeks, 12 volunteer mentors worked in groups with the children, developing business ideas. Each week, there was a presentation by Savills Ireland on key business concepts such as presentation and negotiation practices.
Commenting on the initiative, Fiona Collins, the principal of CBS St Francis St said “having the fortuity to work with Solas Project and Savills on this programme has been an unbelievable educational experience for our boys. It has enhanced their confidence and self-esteem, their speaking and listening skills, and, in particular, their ability to persuade and promote. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the boys and I have every faith that we are sowing the seeds of thought and imagination in our future entrepreneurs and opening up a whole new world to them and us”. Graham Jones from Solas Project said that he “was delighted with how the programme went and thrilled that the boys got so much out of the experience”. He also noted that “the programme was only made possible by the willingness of the volunteers in Savills to give their time and energy so generously”.
Following on from the success of this, the initiative grew to include an additional eight schools in Dublin 8 and received additional support from other business partners. Now each year the volunteer companies along with their respective schools face their own “dragons” with their business ideas in a semi-final. The winning team then goes on to represent their school and Company in a community final.
Savills Dublin Commercial
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