Growing numbers of ‘olderpreneurs’ going into business

Increasing numbers of over-50s are setting up their own SMEs, according to one business expert.

Enterprise company Prime said that this phenomenon can be attributed to the demographical influence of the baby boom, as there are now more people at this age.

Ian Stobie, marketing and research officer with the company says that there were two different types of ‘olderpreneurs’ going into business.

‘Some people are doing it because they need the money, because they need a livelihood, and they therefore don’t have much in the way of resources,’ he says.

Mr Stobie added that there are also those who are setting up the businesses ‘they’ve always wanted to’ as they’ve now got time to work on them.

A recent survey from Prime found that men are most likely to be contemplating setting up a business in the financial and business service sector and construction.

Women are more likely to be thinking about establishing a business related to health and social care and in manufacturing activities.

Update 2013: Surge in older people starting in business

The number of people in their late 50s and 60s either starting a small business or freelancing for the first time almost doubled in the past 12 months, finds a study.

According to a survey of micro and small business owners conducted by online freelancer marketplace PeoplePerHour, the 55-plus demographic is the fastest-growing age group, with an 88 per cent rise in new micro and small business owners registering on the company’s website in the past year.

The top three sectors in terms of numbers are internet-based businesses, retail and property.

Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of those older small business owners reveal that it was the first business they had set up.

PeoplePerHour also asked small business owners across all age demographics how they felt about running a business, especially in the current climate. More than two thirds (38 per cent) say it is challenging and that the next six months would be ‘make or break’.

When asked what they would do if the business failed, almost half say they would start another business.

On being their own boss, nine out of ten (87 per cent), say they are happy or very happy with being in control of their own destiny, with more than two thirds (69 per cent) of those surveyed saying they are never or unlikely to consider working for someone else again.

Asked why they started a business in the first place, a third (33 per cent) of business owners questioned say they started working for themselves for a better work-life balance, more than a quarter (26 per cent) want to pursue a hobby or passion, while 12 per cent say it is for financial freedom.

PeoplePerHour CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou say that the barriers to starting a business have never been lower, and that this could be one of the main reasons for such a big rise in the baby boomer generation choosing to take the self employment route later in life.

‘The key to this growing trend of new small business owners, not just among the baby boomers, but across generations, is how easy and cheap it is now to set up a business and build a client base from scratch.

‘Despite the stresses and money worries that are often associated with starting and growing a business, the rewards and overall satisfaction that people get from being their own boss, clearly helps overcome many of the obstacles put in their way. The dream of being an entrepreneur is no longer just that.’

See also: Business begins at 50 plus

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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