CT AARP Steps Up Focus on Entrepreneurs, Business Development

Next month, AARP and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month, targeted at new business owners age 50 and over and those interested in starting a business.  The goal is to match these “encore entrepreneurs” with experienced business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance, and to link them to the resources they need to successfully start and grow their businesses and create jobs. Consistent with the organizations’ mission, the Connecticut AARP chapter views social enterprise as a valuable opportunity for age 50+ entrepreneurs – also known as “Encore Entrepreneurs” – and active retirees with sharp business and entrepreneurial acumen.  With one in four Americans ages 44 to 70 interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and a large majority planning to work during retirement, small business ownership is described as a solid option.

In addition to planned programs during April, the Connecticut AARP has announced support for legislation proposed by Governor Malloy’s (SB6356) which would help AARP members formalize their commitment to creating public good. The bill is designed to help address a variety of social concerns, through business rather than public funds or philanthropy, that are core to AARP’s mission, such as hunger, economic insecurity, housing and isolation.  AARP has ongoing partnerships with the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), nationally and state-wide, and with co41592_130564031656_4369100_nmmunity partners in Connecticut including Social Enterprise Trust (reSET) and the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC).

The bill before the legislature aims to help attract and keep social entrepreneurs and social enterprise investors in Connecticut and provides a heightened level of transparency and protection as compared to other states with similar legislation, according to AARP. Among the beneficiaries:  “Encore Entrepreneurs” seeking purpose beyond profit, community based organizations seeking to partner for social benefits, age 50+ workers seeking employment opportunities in a down economy, and the State by creating a new source of revenue through the payment of up-front incorporation filing fees and annual taxes.

National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month is part of a larger effort by AARP and SBA to promote entrepreneurship among individuals ages 50+.  It will consist of events across the country, including two in Connecticut, on April 16 in Waterbury and April 18 in Bridgeport, that will link individuals with local resources and mentor opportunities to help them successfully start and grow a small business.

The initiative includes AARP’s Work Reimagined, a unique new way for experienced workers to advance themselves in today’s tight job market.  Work Reimagined is a social network based jobs program that connects employers seeking experienced workers with qualified professionals searching for new or more satisfying careers.  The site, www.workreimagined.org, leverages the platform of professional networking site, LinkedIn, which is used by more than 15 million people aged 45-64.

AARP’s Work Reimagined and other resources for experienced workers over age 50 are slated to be highlighted in a segment on WTNH’s Connecticut Style program airing Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

The in-person AARP/SBA workshops in April will feature presentations by SBA, SCORE, reSET (Social Enterprise Trust), The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC), People’s Bank and local economic development agencies.  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and speak individually with representatives, as well as network with other small business owners and “would be” entrepreneurs. Registration is required.

April 16, 2013 in Waterbury   9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon)

Silas Branson Library, 267 Grand Street, Waterbury, CT

To register, call 1-877-926-8300 or register online

April 18, 2013 in Bridgeport   9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon)

City Hall Annex, 999 Broad Street, Bridgeport, CT

To register, call 1-877-926-8300 or register online.