Mature Entrepreneurs Behind Successful Start-Ups
More than a quarter of start-ups set up between 2001 and 2005 were created by older entrepreneurs, a report by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) has revealed.
The grey economy found that of the 350,000 businesses set up in this period and still trading in 2008, 93,500 were started by 50 to 65-year-olds. This proportion is higher than previous research has indicated.
“Traditionally, it has been assumed that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game, but research shows that the share of older entrepreneurs has increased and is increasing,” said report author, Ron Botham.
“This is often put down to a higher number of older people being made redundant and starting their own businesses. However, it is also down to the fact that 50 to 65-year-olds have had different work experiences from those in the generation before them.
“If an entrepreneur starts up their business later in life they will have much more experience of work,” Botham continued. “Many older people are attracted to setting up their own business as they can actually work after the official retirement age without any pressure to retire.”
However, he added that some older entrepreneurs might be warned off starting their own business due to perceived disadvantages.
“It is sometimes perceived that they won’t have the energy, but if they are in good health they will,” said Botham. “The only thing that might hold them back is their own self-confidence.”
Paul Green, a spokesman for Saga, said that entrepreneurs aged 50 and over often have the advantage of having more money behind them.
“The over-50s are more likely to have some money behind them or will be able to put some more money into the venture,” said Green.
“It is a growing trend for people when they hit 50 or 55 to take stock of their lives, and by that stage they may have paid their mortgages off and their children might be off their hands. That is often the ideal time to set up that micro-brewery or other enterprise that they always dreamed about.”
The NESTA report also found that older entrepreneurs were more likely to take a substantial personal financial risk than their younger counterparts. Green warned that business owners should create a contingency plan.
“We’d advise all entrepreneurs to build in contingency, especially if they are taking a risk with their personal finances,” Green stressed. “Everyone needs a plan B.”
For more information on setting up a business as a mature entrepreneur, visit the Prime website www.primebusinessclub.co.uk