Olderpreneurs: The unlikely heroes of start-up culture

business man

There’s a start-up revolution happening in the UK with thousands of new businesses being founded every year.

While start-up culture is booming in every demographic, there’s one group that’s growing faster than any other when it comes to founding businesses.

Is it those tech savvy Millennials creating the next Snapchat?

Or maybe it’s Gen X-ers hitting their earning potential?

Well, if you guessed either of those you’re wrong.

It’s the Baby Boomers who are the surprising stars of the start-up revolution.

According to a study by Barclays, the fastest growing age group for business ownership is the over 65s, with a massive 140% growth over the last 10 years.

But what is the driving factor behind this surge in Olderpreneurs?

Business Success

Today there are nearly 1.8m self-employed people over the age of 50 – which is roughly 1/5 of all people in this age bracket.

What’s more, their businesses are consistently successful.

More than 70% of businesses started by people in their fifties survive for at least five years whereas only 28% of those started by younger people last that long.

While it’s impossible to state exactly why a business does well, there are a few factors that certainly benefit older people when it comes to entrepreneurship.

  • Experience – Someone in their 50s has 20 years’ experience over someone in their 30s when it comes to business.
  • Even if their business isn’t directly related to their career, it’s amazing how much you pick up over the course of a working life.

    From managing people, to spotting problems early, things come a little easier with a few years under your belt.

  • Connections – It might be a bit of a cliché, but when it comes to business it really is who you know – and after 30 years in business you know tons more people.
  • Even though your connections might not be potential clients, they can provide you with invaluable advice and introductions.

    When it comes to business, nothing is more valuable than being connected.

  • Capital – To set up a business, you need money. If that money is yours – even better.
  • Older people have a lifetime of savings behind them, and often a pension pot or a redundancy package to set up a business with.

    This puts them at a distinct advantage over younger people who will typically need a loan to get a business started.

    Taking a loan automatically puts you in the red, and it can mean there are additional stakeholders to accommodate.

    Being able to self-fund businesses puts Olderpreneurs at a huge advantage.

When you take these things into account it’s no surprise older people are more likely to make a success of their business.

What’s the incentive?

So, with all these older people starting businesses – there must be some incentive.

Unfortunately, research shows that the incentive might not be a positive one.

Increasingly, many older people are struggling to find work at their maximum earning potential.

With only a small handful of senior positions available in businesses, and an increasing trend towards putting younger people in the boardroom, older people are being forced into jobs well below their skill level.

They are also increasingly at risk of redundancy due to their high salaries and competition from lower paid graduates.

These things combined are resulting in more older people taking their careers into their own hands and setting up businesses.

But, until the business world realises what it’s missing, start-ups will continue to benefit from the experience older people have to offer.

What are your thoughts on the rise of the Olderpreneur?

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