March 8, 2024

In Marijampolė, we are creating a forge of future entrepreneurs


Despite growing technological progress, the financial knowledge of Lithuanian residents is deteriorating. One of the strategies to address financial literacy gaps is to tackle this issue while still in school. Mantinga, the largest producer of bread, frozen products and snacks in the Baltic States, has taken a unique initiative in Marijampolė not seen in any other municipality – it teaches children financial literacy from pre-school class.

Mantinga Charity and Support Foundation, which will soon celebrate its 17th birthday, organizes or contributes to projects such as equipping educational institutions with new and advanced equipment, and opening a pain treatment clinic in Marijampolė. However, one of the foundation’s biggest priorities is to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship among schoolchildren, and the foundation has established a range of activities and initiatives to achieve this goal.

“As a business, we believe that we can and must contribute to creating a better future, and it is never too early to educate young people – it can only be too late to do this,” says Klemencas Agentas, founder of Mantinga and the Mantinga Charity and Support Foundation.

 “We aspire to provide as many children as possible with the opportunity to acquire both financial literacy skills, and also entrepreneurship training while still at school. This is the future for all of us – particularly as the foundations of entrepreneurship and financial literacy are formed not only for children – both their parents and teachers are involved in this. In this way, the entire education system and community are strengthened.”

The competition encouraged children to create

The month-long project “Entrepreneurial Leap” ended at the beginning of March. During this period, project students from all educational institutions of Marijampolė municipality from pre-school to 12th grade were invited to participate in the financial literacy competition organized by the Mantinga Charity and Support Foundation. Elementary and pre-school students created future money, third and fourth graders created imaginary financial characters, and fifth and sixth graders created comics on saving and financial topics. Meanwhile, 7th and 8th grade students were assigned the task of creating financial mazes, while 9-12th grade students were given the task of creating business ideas.

“We had about 170 participants in all categories. We are glad that the primary school students were the most active, there was no need to call or invite the schools. Of course, some schools became more involved, others less, but overall the results are encouraging – many principals and teachers of educational institutions understand that the education of the growing generation depends only on their involvement and initiative,” says Žaneta Grašienė, head of the Mantinga Charity and Support Foundation.

A progressive entrepreneurship education program is being implemented

Since September last year, the first progressive entrepreneurship education program in Lithuania, developed by Lithuanian Junior Achievement, has been implemented in Marijampolė municipality on the initiative of the Mantinga Charity and Support Foundation. Students of all grades – from pre-school education to final graders – can participate in this program.

The aim of the progressive entrepreneurship education program is to provide students not only with the basic foundations of financial literacy, but also to deepen their knowledge of social and economic processes, taxes and money movement, how to create a business and manage personal finances, as well as how to develop the leadership and competencies required for entrepreneurship, such as public speaking or creativity.

Teachers were also trained according to the methodology of the Lithuanian Junior Achievement program, to prepare them for introducing financial literacy and entrepreneurship training in Marijampolė educational institutions.

In addition to progressive entrepreneurship education, the foundation organizes various day camps for the children of Mantinga employees, with a focus on introducing financial literacy and entrepreneurial knowledge. The Foundation’s ideas are also offered to Marijampolė: this year,  an entrepreneurship and financial literacy camp will be organized for young resident of Marijampolė, while we also plan to celebrate the day of financial literacy, and launch the largest entrepreneurship event of the region, Marijampolė Region’s Student Training Companies eXpo'24, where a business advertising competition will be announced. The municipality of Marijampolė also contributes to all these initiatives and remains actively involved at all stages.