Older entrepreneurs thrive with innovation

Recent studies have shown that people over the age of 50 are the fastest growing area of entrepreneurism. Experience is one contributing success factor. Our Zintro experts were eager to share their ideas and reasoning for this growth and success.

George Tyler, a chief alliance consultant, says that as an entrepreneur, he is seeing more start up companies being formed by executives who have left the corporate world and want control over their own destiny. “Some people left voluntarily, while others were forced out for many different reasons. Finding a job in today’s market is hard and doubly hard for the older worker,” he says. “The choice is to keep looking for work with someone else or deal with the problem directly and start your own company. I believe that franchising is growing, as well as consulting firms. Both of these options are usually the easiest for a knowledgeable worker willing to run their own business.”

Tylers says that one issue he sees with older entrepreneurs is many are solo entrepreneurs who the lack fellow workers. “It can be lonely doing all the work. You don’t have anyone else to delegate the work to. Some people can’t handle this, and they have to find a way back into working for a company,” he says.

Ruby Gottlieb, marketing and media consultant, sees a few reasons for the increase in older entrepreneurs. “First, and of no surprise, is the difficulty of older professionals to find new roles after being laid off or let go from previous positions,” she says. “While much as been written as to the value of professional experience and the perspective, talents, and skills they bring to an organization, many industries continue to look for younger, less expensive personnel. And yet, many senior professionals have not kept up with technological developments and find it difficult to compete with those who live and breathe their use each day. Many older people choose entrepreneurism out of need or see it as the only means to them at the time.”

Gottlieb says that many older entrepreneurs, however, relish the opportunity to be their own boss, work with clients of their own choosing, make their own hours, and create a new level of work/life balance. “At various life stages, older professionals come to value their lives in different ways from when they were on the corporate treadmill. Becoming an entrepreneur allows them to learn new skills and take on professional experiences they’ve always wanted to try their hand at,” she says. “And, sometimes as one gets older, financial demands lessen (no more tuitions, mortgages paid off, financial planning done effectively), and it becomes more feasible to make less money and work more for personal satisfaction and mental stimulation.”
Khalil Azzoui, a venture capital manager, says people over 50 who have benefited from years of professional and entrepreneurial experiences encompassing failures and successes are ripe for entrepreneurism. “Their experience curve is such that their entrepreneurial strengths allow them to make informed and innovative decisions when it comes to launch a venture,” says Azzoui. “They feel comfortable when forming and leading a team, exploring a market, and dealing with stakeholders. The age of 50 brings wisdom and charisma when it comes to negotiating with third parties. It is reassuring for funds or investors to deal with experienced entrepreneurs, who have a varied network, than with budding entrepreneurs.”


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Comments

  1. Maureen: very good article & equally accurate. Our current business climate has placed added emphasis on organizations pursuing project-based work/consultations in order to drive business improvement, as opposed to long-term investment(s) in full-time personnel. Experience is in high demand, which are article clearly reflects. Nice job!

  2. “The simple reason for this according to Vivek Wadha is that by this time people have the right experience and the urge to create something new. They have the experience and the skill to motivate and to manage people, to handle finances and most importantly to ‘get thing done’. (http://www.imap.ro/140-40245.php).

    Wadhwa, working in conjunction with Stanford, Duke, and Emory universities, reported research results showing that most entrepreneurs are at least 39 years old, not the twenty-something highlighted by the media:

    Also, he thinks:
    “When people become middle-aged, they have experience, knowledge, savings — they just have this fire in the belly to create something, to make it big before they retired,”
    (http://wadhwa.com/2012/01/08/)

    Over fifty is no different, depending on the person’s motivations, goals and health.

  3. Hello Maureen, thank you for sharing your article. I agree with John, the current business climate has created a natural expansion of human evolution.

    50 is the new 40, or so the “experts” say. It is also the age of enlightenment and as such, the creative side of the brain continues to grow if nurtured. We are the age (50+) who appreciates this incredible explosion of technology, but at the sometime, through our own experiences, understand the intense primordial desire between human beings to be connected in a more personal way to others in our species. Humans survive in packs. We thrive with other humans. We need to have personal contact.

    It is often said – “people buy from people who they know and trust”. Whilst we have an opportunity to reach out further, behind social media is only the temporary route. Business will only survive through personal touch, enhanced by social media and technology. The question becomes “do you have the personal tools in the toolbox to be able to complete the sale?”. If you look back at any major developments in history, change and growth go hand in hand. Its humans who have leadership, combined with entrepreneurial spirit that lead the way, embracing and harnessing on the time, and typically they are over the age of 40. We are all teachers and have the ability to teach and share our knowledge and this, is a teachable time in human existence. It is about humans finding balance in busy lives and searching for wisdom and connections; it is therefore normal for entrepreneurs to evolve and flourish.

    This is a very exciting time in our evolution, its expansion and growth – but only for those who have the desire to grow.

    50+ has never been a better opportunity for those of us who are there – even though we might feel like were 40!

    • Dear Carole Holcroft,

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