You do have to be out of diapers to start a business but otherwise age really is no barrier to success. As the over 50’s continue to be hit hard in the downturn in business, more are turning to self employment as a way of continuing to work flexibly around other life commitments. One in six new businesses started in the UK are run by over-50s and they contribute £24.4bn to the UK economy a year, according to a recent survey commissioned by Yellow Pages.
Prime are one of our business partners who address the problems the over-50s can face in the conventional job market and help people over 50 set up in business or social enterprise. They report that nationally, around 20 per cent of working over 50s are self-employed, and benefit from better business survival rates than younger people, mainly through life experience and better planning and research. As Prince Charles, PRIME's founder, says "The experience and skills which people build up over a lifetime are an invaluable resource. It is madness for society not to make use of this." The PRIME Business Club site is full of information for entrepreneurs over 50, and users can sign up to receive a free business start-up pack.
For those people looking for more personal support, there is a wealth of experience available on horsesmouth – both from people over 50 setting up in business and those who have ‘been there and done that’, and are willing to share their experiences with others.
For example, ‘Beenthere’ (aged 70) ,the winner of the Yell Small Business Mentor of the Year Award 2008, proves that businesses have much to gain from experienced and inspirational individuals. After a colourful and successful business career, he retired to care for his wife who had cancer, and is now putting his 70 years experience to good use on horsesmouth for the benefit of others. He also studies graphology, sings, and plays golf, “but not usually at the same time.”
It was on her 50th birthday that Pennysmart decided to quit her well-paid management career and set up a company delivering money saving advice. Nine months on she can advise those taking the first tricky steps into the world of self-employment. For her it was definately the right decision- She says "I have been finding excuses for over 30 years as to why I could not make the break from a guaranteed wage, now I wish I'd done it years ago."
Enterprise UK, previously Make Your Mark, has broadened its scope so now works to encourage enterprising activities and ideas amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. Their site quotes a report by NESTA that 8 out of 10 business ideas never get any further that that- so want to help provide support for everyone with an idea, whether you are 16 or 80.
If you feel it is your youth rather than your age which is holding you back then Prince's Trust have everything you need to help you get your ideas off the ground, and plenty of inspiring stories of young people who already have! Find out more about the Prince's Trust Business Programme to help 18-30 year olds explore and test their business ideas.
If you're looking for information or inspiration spend some time browsing the site and reading mentor profiles and stories. Try a few different search terms to find a range of mentors relevant to you. Then if you would like to connect with someone on horsesmouth, whether for specific information or just to help you see things more clearly, then join the site today.
Or if you're already mentoring on business at horsesmouth you can apply to claim a campaign badge and make yourself more visible to our community as a business mentor.
Relevent mentors: Business
"People don't care what you think, until they think that you care..."
If you've lived, you've learned...and you've probably got a story to tell. Mentoring online is the perfect way to share your hard earned-wisdom with those who can benefit from your experiences and knowledge, all in a supportive, safe and secure online environment. It takes seconds to sign up and you never know who you might meet!
If you've tried using search and browsed the profiles on our site but can't find anyone who's quite right for you, send a request for a mentor to the whole community. You'll get some good responses and one or two may turn into mentoring relationships.