Based on the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity report, adults ages 20-34 made up about 35 percent of all new entrepreneurs in the United States in 1996. Today, their share of new entrepreneurs has gone down to 25 percent. Conversely, Baby Boomers (ages 50-64) have seen the biggest increase in the rate of entrepreneurship over the past two decades. This group made up 15 percent of entrepreneurs in 1996 and is at 25 percent today.
Read more: How to establish a startup in Hong Kong the right way
Interestingly a vast majority of businesses built by old founders also speak to Millennials or Gen Y and have long captured the popular imagination. So it is not only untrue that old entrepreneurs don’t have a pulse on their customers or technology, it is also unsupported to say that this age group lacks the drive to create and invent.
Accumulated life experiences place people between 50-75 in a pretty amazing space. They have subject matter expertise and understand why things go wrong, they usually have the connections to draw funding support without incessant networking and have the mindset to drive impact.
So how can older professionals wield a founder hat?
Leverage technology for de-risked entrepreneurship
Becoming an entrepreneur has long since been considered an act sprouting from luxury or desperation – simply put, no one in their right mind would consider treading this path which was laced with risks, financial instability and the huge opportunity cost of foregoing a paycheck. But today, with technology and strengthening startup ecosystems it is far less risky to create and build a business.
Being cynical about social media and co-working spaces risks alienating one from the connected world. For entrepreneurs to create and grow – they must open up to collaboration, learning and meeting like-minded people who could support or grow their ideas into tangible businesses. Working in an open, collaborative environment is also a key way in which one can create new opportunities.
Learn what you need to know with the countless free and paid resources out there that help first-time founders with business strategy, customer acquisition, product testing and even fundraising. And no, this does not mean you need to learn coding to start a business!
Stay away from the peer pressure
Startups tend to operate like cliques and focus on “how much money you raised” than “what problem have you solved”. Stay true to why you started a business and if it means you run an old-school sustainable non-VC funded business, then that’s fantastic.
In a nutshell, don’t wait. Unleash your inner wisdom and partner with emerging demographics, technologies and eco-systems to create services and products that will truly create an impact.
The time has never been better.
Priyanka Gothi is the founder of Retired Not Out, an online platform for companies to hire, train and engage seasoned professionals. As the world rapidly ages and we see a massive shortage of talent — engaging with this pool of experienced and networked individuals will enable companies to build a sustainable talent pipeline as well as drive retention and relevance for loyal employees.
In less than a year, Retired Not Out has built a community of over 500 seasoned professionals across all levels and successfully placed over 30 with corporates, SMEs and startups.
A place to do your best work in a supportive space. From full-time tenancy to short-term arrangements, we offer affordable, flexible co-working in great locations.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to find out more and arrange a visit.