Children introduced to business skills

Pacific Incubation Programme — Entrepreneurship (Pipe) children being taught about money by co...
Pacific Incubation Programme — Entrepreneurship (Pipe) children being taught about money by co-ordinator MJ Kivalu at Start-up Dunedin. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSTON
A group of Pasifika children spent their school holidays learning about business.

The University of Otago’s Pacific commerce wing has piloted the Pacific Incubation Programme — Entrepreneurship (Pipe) with a group of school children.

The group, which was hosted by Start-Up Dunedin, recently spent a week learning aspects of business life, including accounting, marketing and leadership.

The programme was first started in 2019 but did not run last year because of Covid.

The aim was to expose the children to business careers during each school holiday period, with the ultimate aim of coming up with a business idea later this year.

Pipe’s co-ordinator and Otago business school PhD student MJ Kivalu said the programme was aimed at primary and intermediate pupils.

"What we have found is that most programmes are aimed at high school kids and by that time they kind of already have an idea of the career they want to do and what subjects they want to take.

"We are trying to expose them to the business career at an early age so business can be an option, because we know in Pacific families there are certain careers parents encourage the kids to take," she said.

When asked, the children all agreed the Pipe programme was "way better than school".

This year’s cohort comprises members of the local Tongan community.

The programme will be expanded next year and aims to be ethnic specific so culture and wellbeing can be tied into the learning, Miss Kivalu said.

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