Mix a relatively slow economy and a shortage of jobs with a large number of aging boomers looking for meaning and purpose in their work. The result is a growing number of “encore entrepreneurs” seeking to launch income-generating ventures that make a positive difference in their communities.
That has led the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and AARP to launching a strategic alliance to provide counseling and training to entrepreneurs over the age of 50 who want to start or grow a small business.
April is Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month, and would-be “encore entrepreneurs” will have the opportunity to connect with a number of organizations and community leaders for advice and assistance in their endeavors as part of seminars held as part of the AARP-SBA initiative.
Next up in Connecticut: a free seminar, Want to Start or Grow a Small Business?, at the Hartford Public Library on Wednesday, April 23, 2-4 PM, at 500 Main Street. Space is limited. Interested individuals can register online or call toll-free 877-926-8300. There will also be a session in New Haven on May 15.
For many Americans born between 1946 and 1964, retirement has a very different meaning than it did a generation ago. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll, 63% of American adults plan to work in retirement; two-thirds say enjoyment of work is the key reason. With years of valuable work experience, maturity, and plenty of energy at their disposal, today's older workers are increasingly finding financial and personal fulfillment in running their own small businesses.
- Approximately 25 million people – one in four Americans ages 44 to 70 – are interested in starting businesses or nonprofit ventures in the next five to 10 years.
- More than 12 million of these aspiring entrepreneurs are potential encore entrepreneurs who want to make a positive social impact as well as a living. Potential encore entrepreneurs have realistic financial expectations and plan local, small ventures to meet needs in their communities.
- These aspiring entrepreneurs bring a lot of experience to the table, including an average of 31 years of work experience and 12 years of community involvement. Additionally, five out of six report having management experience – 15 years on average.
A 2010 survey by the Kauffman Foundation found that Americans 55 to 64 start new business ventures at a higher rate than any other age group, including 20-somethings. Fully 23 percent of new entrepreneurs were age 55 to 64, up from 14 percent in 1996.
The first event in Connecticut was held in Bridgeport in late January, followed by Danbury in early April. An additional program is slated for New Haven on May 15 (2 to 4 PM) at Gateway Community College.