More than 57% of all small businesses are owned by people over the age of 50. True, many of them started that business when they were younger and brimming with a lot more energy. Even so, seniors who want to start an all-new business have advantages over Millennials and Gen Z.
The most obvious advantage of advanced age is wisdom and experience. Older entrepreneurs also tend to be more financially stable and have better access to capital resources. People over the age of 50 are naturally better connected and “networked” with important people.
Perhaps the most serious disadvantage for older entrepreneurs is the technology factor. Some Millennials and all of Gen Z are “Digital Natives.” They grew up in a connected world and have learned to adapt to the constant upgrades and changes in technology as a natural part of growing up.
This means that one of the greatest resources for a senior start-up entrepreneur is not to take a computer class or spend hours learning new tech systems — it’s to partner with a Digital Native who can bring the skill sets a senior might lack to a new business. Remember, young people need what seniors have just as much as seniors need the power of youth.
In terms of more traditional resources for older entrepreneurs, an organization called the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship (GIEE) is an excellent place to start. This organization provides research, consulting, advisory services, incubators, and other resources.
Another excellent resource for senior entrepreneurs is WISE: Seniors in Business. This organization was started by successful Canadian businesswoman and author Wendy Mayhew. She brings 40 years of experience to business start-ups and helping others find the resources they need to maximize their success.
One might expect that an organization like the AARP — American Association of Retired Persons — would have resources focused on the unique challenges of senior entrepreneurs. They do. The AARP offers what it calls the Purpose Prize for people over 50 seeking to build businesses that produce positive change.
Another resource for older entrepreneurs is SCORE. This organization states its mission as “fostering small businesses through communities and education.” A large element of what SCORE does is directed specifically at over-50 people who want to launch new enterprises.