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Older Entrepreneurs – A Force To Be Reckoned With

Older Entrepreneurs – A Force To Be Reckoned With

By Susan Williams

So often when you think of an entrepreneur you envision a young, tech-saavy 20-something with a hot new idea that is going to revolutionize the world.

Unfortunately, we’ve all been trained to think that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game but older entrepreneurs are showing that this is not at all the case.

In fact, older entrepreneurs are proving that they are truly a force to be reckoned with.

Did you know;

  • More than half (54%) of America’s small business owners are over 50 and 30% of Canadian start-ups are run by those 50 and older.
  • More than two-thirds (67%) of business owners over 50 say their companies are currently profitable.
  • 50-year-old tech entrepreneurs were about twice as likely to have a runaway business success as their 30-year-old counterparts.
  • The 2015 Kauffman Index discovered that the number of new business owners aged 55 – 64 grew from 14.8% in 1997 to 25.8% in 2015

Older entrepreneurs are demonstrating that they have the knowledge, experience and passion for business and aren’t afraid to use it.

Wendy Mayhew knows this first hand.

Wendy is the Founder of the WISE 50 Over 50 Awards. This past October, 50 Awards were presented to 50 Canadian entrepreneurs over the age of 50 who are showing the world just how amazing older entrepreneurs can be.

I recently met with Wendy to discuss these awards and the people they are recognizing. Here is our conversation:

Meet three of the 2018 50 Over 50 Award Winners as they share their experience, thoughts and advice on being an older entrepreneur:

These are some of the highlights of our discussion with Wendy;

  • Wendy introduced the WISE 50 Over 50 Awards in response to being told that “entrepreneurs over 50 would never amount to anything”. There was a pre-conception that older people would work for one company their entire career, retire, start a consulting business and then go back and work for that company again on contract.
  • These views bothered Wendy and she decided she was going to prove this thinking wrong.
  • Wendy launched the 50 Over 50 Awards in 2017 to recognize and celebrate 50 Canadian entrepreneurs who started a business after the age of 50.
  • The response to the awards has been incredible. In 2017, Wendy received 80 organizations engaged and in 2018 this increased to 105
  • Older entrepreneurs are starting a multitude of different types of businesses. As Wendy says, “anything and everything“. Gluten free food, a mobile truck for clothing, deicing wind turbines are just some of the examples of the businesses being started. One entrepreneur started her cloud business at 63 years old and is still running the business now in her 80’s.
  • To support older entrepreneurs, government, financial institutions and other support organizations need to recognize the value that older entrepreneurs can bring. For example 70% of older entrepreneurs are in still in business after five years versus 24% of millennials.
  • Unfortunately, much of the support available is directed to younger entrepreneurs. This is not to say this is in any way their fault, it’s just a point to be made that the available support should be  more inclusive by including older entrepreneurs.

Older entrepreneurs. Definitely changing the face of aging.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.