Sunday, March 18, 2018

A major 20 year long shift to older entrepreneurs launching startups

The runway for ageless entrepreneurs - those of us in the second half of life - to launch and grow new enterprises - is wide open.

The recent Kaufmann Index of Startup Activity (2016) highlights a major trend in the American economy that is going largely unreported.

Startups among people below age 44 fell 12.95% from 1996 through 2016.

Startups among people above 45 rose 13.21% 1996 through 2016.

That's a 26.1% shift in entrepreneurship from younger to older entrepreneurs.

And yet the common myth is that startups are the purview of the young.  Policies get made, infrastructure gets built and myths continue around this narrative.  All the while, older entrepreneurs march ahead, setting the pace out of the limelight.

It's clearly not slowing down these ageless entrepreneurs.  New opportunities arise daily.  New problems arise that need solutions. 

Older entrepreneurs have experience, knowledge and networks behind them.  We are ideally positioned to grow new organizations of all kinds to meet this opportunity.

Welcome to the future!  

Download the Kaufmann Index of Startup Activity.  National Trends 2016.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Older Entrepreneurs Do It Better

Carl Schramm, the former President of the Kaufmann Foundation wrote a great article in a recent Wall Street Journal titled, "Older Entrepreneurs Do It Better".

The article points out that, "According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American who are 35 or older are 50% more likely to start a business than their younger counterparts."

The article also points out the value of experience, knowledge, and networks.  "One reason for the prevalence of older entrepreneurs is that it takes some time for people to recognize that their destiny is to start a company.  Their inspiration comes not from college programs teaching them generic entrepreneurship skills but from what they've learned in previous jobs."

Mr. Schramm recommends a series of steps that can be taken to support mid and late career entrepreneurs, including re-tooling to college and university systems to make available training in emerging technologies and business practices.  Small business incubators "should be restyled from hip communal working spaces for young people to office arrangements more suited to midcareer entrepreneurs."

Entrepreneurship is growing rapidly among older citizens for a wide variety of reasons.  This can take the form of for-profits, nonprofits, and everything in between.

Look to your own experience, knowledge, and networks and see where they might lead you.

The article quoted is in the Feb. 8, 2019 Wall Street Journal.  Paid online access, or free in your library.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Japan seeks to become an 'ageless society'

'Ageless' is becoming a trend.

The country of Japan is working to match their society and its workforce to the reality of longer lifespans and lower birthrates.  

Their new concept of an 'ageless society' recognizes that many people in the second half of life remain committed to working, and to contributing and growing their communities

“The general trend of uniformly seeing those aged 65 or over as elderly is losing credibility,” an outline of the new policy said. “The government will review the (current) standardization by age bracket and aim to create an ageless society where people of all generations can be active according to their wishes.”  Read this article in The Japan Times

However, Japan continues to lag in entrepreneurship.  Perhaps a worthy experiment - on a countrywide scale - would be to start small and start smart.  Allow older people who would like to ease into retirement years to start small service businesses that cater to the needs of their peers, the large and growing population of seniors in Japan.  

Small gains in peer-to-peer entrepreneurship, coupled with a graduated pension policy would help balance the macro-level needs of Japan's fiscal policy while inspiring older workers to continue contributing.

An ageless society needs ageless entrepreneurs.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Welcome to Ageless Entrepreneurs

To borrow a phrase from AARP's Purpose Prize,  "Making a difference is ageless."

One of the most exciting and fulfilling ways to make a difference is through entrepreneurship.  

Entrepreneurs make life better:  They fix problems; they use their experience, wisdom, and networks to build solutions that enhance their communities and strengthen themselves.  

Ageless Entrepreneurs is the starting point for those of us in the second half of life that would like to join this revolution.