Students and Over-55s send Start-up Figures Soaring

Students and retirees are turning their back to the traditional job market to set up their own businesses, two new pieces of research have highlighted.

The first, a survey of 500 small businesses carried out by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, found that nearly a quarter (23%) of over 55s had set up their own business after being made redundant, while 12% had decided to become an entrepreneur on retirement.  

More than a million so-called ‘older-preneurs’ had used redundancy or retirement as an opportunity to go it alone, according to the bank, with many turning a lifelong hobby into a business venture.

Saga spokesman Paul Green said older people were more experienced and could often raise significant capital with which to start a business, saying:

“They’ve typically thought through the pitfalls and know the value of money, so they are very well placed to become entrepreneurs. It’s not necessarily about funding retirement or getting rich — it’s often more about lifestyle and following a dream.”

In a separate poll,, a site which enables people to set up and advertise themselves as freelancers, found that the rate of students signing up had increased by 89% on last year’s figures.

The majority of student sign-ups admitted that the tough job market had forced them to create their own job opportunities. The poll also found that the number of students setting themselves up as self-employed had rocketed in the same period.

Independent jeweller and ambassador for Peter Jones’ Enterprise Academy, Alyssa Smith, who started her business when she was a student to cover costs, said many young people were inspired to go it alone by programmes such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice.

“There’s a lot more support out there for young entrepreneurs these days and the education system is changing — more students are being taught business skills at school and university,” she said. “It’s seen as less scary to run your own small business than it was a few years ago.”

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