Smurfit Social Outreach Society & Bizworld


On Tuesday, the Smurfit Social Outreach Society welcomed Bizworld, a local charitable foundation, to our campus in Blackrock for a Primary School Showcase. Our guests included 35 sixth class children as well as teachers from three local schools (Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown; Scoil Mhuire, Shankill; Harold Boys NS, Dalkey), BizWorld staff including CEO Fiona McKeon, Don, cathoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Barry Saul, a television crew from Irish TV, and members of the UCD Smurfit community.

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The children made up seven teams of 4-5 and they used this opportunity to showcase their learnings from the BizWorld programme. BizWorld holds two-day sessions in which students create business ideas and learn about topics from teamwork to finance. They pitch their businesses to MBA students like ourselves who act as “Dragons in the Den,” developing communication skills and confidence in the process. At this event, we invited Smurfit lecturers Brian McGrath, Virginia Stewart, Christoph Dreschler, and Bruce Martin to ask questions to the students and offer advice.


The event started with an address by UCD- Bizworld coordinator Kamala Sadanand welcoming everyone for the morning. I then followed and spoke for a few minutes sharing my experiences with Bizworld and what I have learned from the children. After these brief words, the adults in the room walked around to each table, learning about the different business ideas which ranged from a zoo app that allows people to watch animals around the world to a taxi service in which riders can replace traditional taxi rides and enjoy a trip in a Bugatti while sipping chocolate milk and playing video games.

Each group then presented its business ideas to the room, expertly communicating ideas, sharing responsibility, and fielding questions from lecturers, students, and each other. We then had a few minutes in which the students sold goodies like baked items and handmade bookmarks in exchange for currency with which to invest their business, known as “biz bucks.” When buying slowed with adults fatiguing of sugar, the students worked the room, lowered prices, and attempted to make more sales. They impressed us!


Finally, Barry Saul from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council address the room, surveying the students about key learnings. The main takeaway from the groups was how much they learned about teamwork and working with one another. Mr. Saul presented certificates for each of the students to honour their participation in the programme and also to the MBA dragons who participate in the workshops across schools in Dublin Irish TV, a channel that broadcasts on local networks and internationally, was on hand covering the day. In the end, we all gathered for photos and cheers.

Participation in the Social Outreach Society has been such a great way for Smurfit students to learn about business in contexts outside of the classroom. We enjoy the BizWorld programme because it reminds us of some of the ways in which participating in business can develop communities and inspire people. Also, we can relate to the kids who say that they learned the most about teamwork and grew through that because we have experienced the same thing in the MBA. I’m sure some of the talented students we saw on Tuesday will find themselves excelling in UCD Smurfit classrooms in the future, no doubt with BizWorld experiences in mind.

Find out more about the Smurfit MBA here

Elsa Heffernan ~ Full-Time MBA

A dragon in the den

Two days before Christmas and I’m finally getting round to writing my blog; David Sweeney I expect you to follow suit.

I’d like to share with you my Bizworld ( ‘Dragon in the Den’ experience that I had a couple of weeks ago. I visited St Olafs National School in Balally to be the ‘dragon’ (investor) that five pairs of 10/11 year old kids would pitch to for funding their companies movie production. After the daunting experience of being introduced to the class I was moved to the Den to get ready for the first pair of entrepreneurs. Ciara and Aoife, representing ‘Shooting Stars’ company walked in with a mission – to get as many of my $BB (BizBucks) as possible for the minimum share of their company. They pitched their horror comedy movie idea to me and informed me that the cost associated with production of the movie amounted to $89BB. When asked how this cost was calculated, Ciara clearly explained to me the breakdown of wages, studio rent, ticketing, merchandise etc included in the cost. Aoife then told me that they would sell enough tickets and movie merchandise to make a tidy profit on the production. Shooting stars needed funding and I was the fat cat with the cash. The request for my investment began by Aoife and Ciara offering 30% of their company to me for $90BB. Chancers! My counter-offer was met with assertive shakes of the head, they were having none of it. We negotiated some more before I cracked under the pressure and Shooting Stars ended up taking $60BB of me for a mere 40% of the company. Professionally and politely, Aoife and Ciara thanked me for my investment and left the Den. I was left wondering would I fare any better with the next company and its two representatives?

Being a Dragon in the Den in St Olafs’ lasted only an hour and I would highly recommend all MBA’ers to be a dragon in semester 2. If anyone is interested please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and I will arrange with Bizworld.

Peter MacMahon

Full Time MBA

MBA Charity Club

Bizworld Ireland and the MBA

Fiona McKeon, CEO Bizworld Ireland, Dean Ciarán Ó’ hÓgartaigh and Aoife Lucey

The MBA Programme is proud to be collaborating with Bizworld Ireland, a group of educators and business people who have come together to inspire and empower children aged 10-13 to learn about money management, critical thinking and enterprise in a fun and creative way.

As a not-for-profit organisation, Bizworld are training mentors to provide 2-day workshops to children towards the end of Primary School. Children are brought through the entire entrepreneurial cycle from company formation, applying for jobs in the companies, and conducting market research to acquiring seed capital from venture capitalists. Each student company designs, produces, markets and sells their unique product to a ‘Dragon’ in a Dragons Den style format. In Bizworld’s case it is a short animated movie. The currency used is BizBucks and children must keep ledgers and balance the books at the end of the workshop. The following year, children are invited to use their new skills to address a need in their local community and enter Bizworld’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Students from the full-timg MBA class have been acting as mentors in Carysfort National School and yesterday UCD Smurfit Dean Ciarán Ó’ hÓgartaigh acted as a ‘Dragon’ for the student presentations. A joint event will also be held between Yale and the Smurfit School MBA in the Cathal Brugha Barracks on Tuesday March 18th and Bizworld will be in attendance to lead a Strategic Discussion about the charity. It promises to be a great night!

Please click here for further information about Bizworld Ireland.

Emer Tierney and students of Carysfort National School
Thady Duggan and students
Aoife Lucey and students