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The seniorpreneur effect

The seniorpreneur effect

Roy Morgan’s State of the Nation 2014 report shows nearly half of all small businesses owners in Australia are baby boomers and are part of a fast growing global trend of olderpreneurs.

Add to this research from US think-tank Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that shows that entrepreneurial activity in the past decade has been highest in the 55-64 age bracket. 

Why? We look at the factors that are driving fifty something’s to take a new approach to work and career.

Living longer

Global research think-tank 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that an ageing population is swelling the ranks of seniorpreneurs. Medical advances and longer life-spans means we are living longer, healthier lives. The result: More time and confidence to start new businesses way past traditional retirement age. Living longer also means having to pay for it. So working much later in life is becoming increasingly popular.

Age discrimination

Unemployment and retrenchment among older workers is also forcing more boomers to consider self employment. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show about one-third of older people who give up looking for work say it’s because employers think they’re too old.

Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan, said, “we lose over $10 billion a year by having people unemployed, who could be employed if it were not for age discrimination”. Unable to find new or appropriate work, seniorpreneurs are creating their own jobs to supplement superannuation and retirement savings. 

Following their passion

While financial security can be a driver, for other boomers starting a business is more to do with wanting to stay active through work or following a passion now they have the time and resources to make it happen.

Professor Mark Hart, from the UK’s Aston University explains, “the shake-up from the recession provided the impetus for people over 50 to say that it’s time to do something that they've always wanted to do and to take an opportunistic approach to creating their own business”.

More likely to succeed

Studies show seniorpreneurs are better at building businesses than their younger peers. Professor Teemu Kautonen, author of the 2013 OECD report, Senior Entrepreneurship, says, “current literature suggests that older people are generally in a better position to start a business than younger individuals,” noting that life experience, a greater ability to control risk and access to capital are significant advantages to success.

Trend to continue

With the number of Aussies aged 65 or over expected to reach 6.8 million by 2040, (ABS) seniorpreneurs are likely to become a mainstay of the Australian economic and social landscape.

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