Brazil holds one of the last positions in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report when it comes to the presence of entrepreneurial education in schools: the country is in 50th place in a ranking of 54 countries. That happens because the first contact with entrepreneurial education happens mainly in private and elite schools, with tuition above four digits (some reach R$ 10,000).
Brazil’s potential, however, is enormous, considering that only 14.6% of children and teenagers are enrolled in private schools, while 85.4% of them, or 43.9 million study in public schools, according to data from the last census conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). In order to help changing that scenario, the Youth Entrepreneurship Center (EFG NEJ), a project by Escola do Sebrae, offers entrepreneurial education to public schools students, turning them into protagonists of their own lives.
Learn more about the project below.
To be able to register for NEJ, students must be between 16 and 24 years old, attend or have completed high school in the public system and participate in a selection process. Students who were approved have access to one-year technical education in Business Administration with an emphasis on Business Management.
NEJ’s methodology combines theory and practice, allowing students to have real experience with the business world and develop entrepreneurial skills and behaviors. The experience happens through several projects such as Mentoring, Junior Enterprise and Showcase Project:
Mentoring: The mentoring project is students’ first experience with business. They are divided into groups and each team has a mentor, an entrepreneur who will open up the doors of his company. Through meetings, technical visits and interviews, students understand the main aspects of business and how the routine of an organization works.
Junior Enterprise: Next, it’s time to put knowledge into practice in a simulated business environment where students have the opportunity to work with human resources, finances, marketing – and participate in the whole process of running a business. To do so, they have access to a simulated network of about 5,000 virtual enterprises, allowing them to experience real challenges in a secure learning environment.
Showcase Project: After field experience and practice in a simulated environment, students are ready to complete the course by developing a real business model. In the Showcase Project, they are mentored by a teacher to build a business plan, develop and plan their idea so that it is ready to be implemented.
Since 2010, when it began, EFG NEJ has trained more than 1,700 students and annually offers about 330 places. After completing the course, students are ready to deal with challenges in the job market and feel more confident to turn ideas into profitable businesses.
“Students leave the course knowing how to start a business and to prosper. But the most important thing is to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset and behaviors such as persistence, proactivity and the ability to take risks, which are essential in any career ”, adds Fátima dos Santos, EFG NEJ principal.
If you are interested in EFG NEJ, you may also enjoy reading testimonials from high school students about how entrepreneurial education helps choosing a career. Be sure to check it out!