Business

Young: Does age play a factor in following entrepreneurial path?

Today I want to talk about a very important segment of our population—seniors.

Seniors (and remember, we are all aging) have surged to the forefront of the entrepreneurial world lately, a phenomena called “seniorpreneur” or “greypreneur.”

The world around us continues to get greyer.

According to the United Nations, the number of people age 60 and over could reach two billion by 2050.

Seniors have become big business folks, as a whole new market of products and services has surfaced targeted to the specific needs and interests of older people.

This two-sided phoenomena has posed some interesting and exciting opportunity channels for the adventurous.

On the one side, tremendous volume of aging customers. On the other, opportunities for seniors to become seniorpreneurs, serving their own  population age group.

While taking on the task of exploring some research tidbits for you, I stumbled on two headlines that really caught my attention in this regard: “In Life’s Second Act, Some Take On a New Role—Entrepreneur, “ and  “Entrepreneurship After Retirement —What’s Age Got To Do With It” (reminds me of a Tina Turner hit song )

These words really sum up for me a message of hope, of faith that our aging population have discovered concrete options that can add productivity and joy to their declining years, for their families and their communities.

One article I came across stated this “seniors boom” is reflective of more people 55 or older who seem to be rejecting the traditional model of puttering around a garden or golf course.

Many, however, have not simply hoped for a great second act, but carefully planned, the article espouses, their transition from careers to a large dollop of serendipity to arrive at the threshold of an entrepreneurial venture.

Linda Wiener, an aging issues expert for Monster.com, a  jobs search website, said recently: “It’s like a giant sea swell peaking under the radar. There are people who don’t want an hourly job, but wonder what they are going to do for the next 30 years.”

No longer are the rigours of entrepreneurship meant for the young and the restless.

Youthful energy has been dethroned by experience and pragmatism.

Increasingly, seniors close to retirement are attempting yet another life change. And through their entrepreneurial opportunity portal, they’re making their mark and a true difference

Why? In part because seniors today have some level of prosperity and affluence, and minimize financial risk by not being as impatient as our younger generation sometimes can be in waiting for a positive outcome with a new venture.

Also, seniors bring a wealth of life experience  combined with a sense of security, flexibility and—like our Okanagan wine—just get better with age.

Many seniors believe that launching an entrepreneurial venture is a progression of their careers, a new challenge.

Today’s generation of older Canadians are healthier than their parents and will live longer, and are better educated.

The research reflects how older entrepreneurs can outshine their younger counterparts in several areas making the self-employment option pretty attractive.

And seniors have stronger life track records to the degree that human resource experts suggest highlighting a senior’s entrepreneur experience, talent and accomplishments as a basis for marketing campaigns.

Seniors may also have an easier time borrowing money or raising capital because they have had the time to establish credit and build financial resources.

Coupled with a fair share in possession of adequate computer skills, a home-based entrepreneurial venture presents some sound logic.

While there is a relatively substantial and growing body of research that looks at entrepreneurship in general, the senior entrepreneur and his/her role in the context of the “new economy” has been relatively unexplored.

To me, this opens the door to tremendous opportunity for research and new venture creation as seniors and those committed to working with and adding value to the lives of our aging world envision new venture creation via entrepreneurship as a wonderful journey  to embark upon.

There, I have said it to-day with heart, that many of you reading this column can contemplate the entrepreneurial self-employment option for the next 20 years of your journey.

The Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society  and a  plethora of other business service providers are here to help seniors  get started.

And still, I have a feeling you will still find some time for puttering in your rose garden and a few rounds of golf with a glass of our wonderful Okanagan wine.

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