The Rise of Olderpreneurship
The Rise of Olderpreneurship
More and more successful companies are being founded by older people. So-called Senior Entrepreneurs benefit from their life experience and resources. Read more about this highly innovative trend.
What is a Senior Entrepreneur?
A senior entrepreneur, also known as an olderpreneur, is an individual who starts a business or pursues entrepreneurial ventures later in life, usually defined as over 50 years. Olderpreneurs bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills to their ventures, and can be successful in a wide range of industries. The trend of older entrepreneurship has been on the rise in recent years, as more and more older adults are choosing to start their own businesses rather than retiring or seeking traditional employment . Figures from 1996 showed the 55-64 age group made up 14% of new businesses (in the US), by 2018 this figure had risen to 25.8%  and continues to rise.
The Growth of Senior Entrepreneurship in Europe
In recent years, Senior Entrepreneurs have become an increasingly important and visible part of the European business landscape. As people are living longer and healthier lives, more and more older adults are choosing to start their own businesses rather than retiring or seeking traditional employment.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the rise of olderpreneurs in Europe. One is the economic recession, which has led many older adults to seek alternative sources of income. Another is the desire to stay active and engaged in their communities, and to pursue a sense of purpose and fulfilment later in life. As our societies age and the over 65’s become the most significant growth demographic, this trend can be expected to continue and to increase.
Despite the challenges that senior entrepreneurs may face, such as limited access to funding and difficulty adapting to new technology, they are often successful in their ventures. In fact, research has shown that older entrepreneurs are more likely to start businesses that are innovative, scalable, and financially successful. An article by Forbes  notes that a 60-year-old starting a new business is three times more likely to succeed than a 30-year-old peer, with older entrepreneurs consistently outperforming their younger counterparts. Contrary to most assumptions that entrepreneurship is the realm of the young, the average age of a business start-up founder (in the US) is 42 years . Some of the factors that benefit an older entrepreneur are; their more developed networks, greater experience, higher managerial and technical skills and often a stronger financial position .
- Colonel Sanders was 62 when he founded KFC
- Ray Kroc founded McDonalds at 52
- Ariana Huffington launched the Huffington Post at 55
- Professor Frederik Glasser is one of the oldest entrepreneurs who co-founded CCM (the Carbon Capture Machine) at 88.
There are an increasing number of resources available to help olderpreneurs in Europe succeed, including mentorship programs, networking groups, and financial assistance. Some countries, such as the UK, have also created initiatives specifically aimed at supporting older entrepreneurs, such as the “New Entrepreneurs Foundation” and the “Older People’s Enterprise Hub’. In Switzerland there a number of agencies who offer free tutorials and support for aspiring entrepreneurs including Swiss Entrepreneurs Foundation and IFJ start up Support. Additional opportunities for collaboration and employment post-retirement can be found at startup.ch who host a platform connecting experienced over 65’s with start-ups looking for experienced workers and advisors and Google provides a suite of tools and resources to help guide anyone anywhere in a start-up venture . A great first step in exploring the opportunities for entrepreneurism at any age are the wealth of free online education courses.
Later life entrepreneurs, olderpreneurs or senior entrepreneurs, are a growing demographic driven by experienced people wanting to embark on new challenges and create new opportunities. Populations are living longer and have much to give past the traditional retirement age of 65 and traditional working options no longer suit or are unavailable to them. The good news is that olderpreneurs are more likely than their younger counterparts to be successful due to their experience, connections, and attitudes. There are many resources in many locations aimed at providing help and support and many free online training tools to help anyone get started as an entrepreneur no matter their age.
Author: Sophie Griffiths
- Bressler, M., HOW OLDER-PRENEURS ARE TURNING SILVER INTO GOLD. International Journal of Current Research, 2017. 9: p. 46448-46450.
- AARP. More Adults over 50 Starting Their Own Business. 2019; Available from: https://www.aarp.org/work/small-business/older-adults-becoming-entrepreneurs/.
- Forbes. The Advantages of Older Entrpreneurs. 2022; Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2022/09/09/the-advantages-of-older-entrepreneurs/?sh=1bba16861547.
- Forbes. Older Entrepreneurs Outperform Younger Founders—Shattering Ageism. 2022; Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kmehta/2022/08/23/older-entrepreneurs-outperform-younger-foundersshattering-ageism/?sh=430f73b97a36.
- Kautonen, T., Senior Entrepreneurship, in OECD Better Policies for Better Lives, OECD, Editor. 2015.
- Google. Google Start Ups. 2022; Available from: https://startup.google.com/.
Updated: 26.05.2023 // The images used are from www.freepik.com.