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The New Entrepreneurs – Baby Boomers


Conventional wisdom tells us that entrepreneurs look like the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, not George Burns, a famous comedian who lived to the ripe old age of 100. However, the statistics are telling something very different. The data is showing that entrepreneurs come from both sides of the age spectrum. In reality like most things they come in all shapes and sizes. Not all are still in college or starting their first business at 17. A study released in 2008 by researcher, Vivek Wadhwa revealed, against common belief that the number of new business creators older than 50 was twice the number in the group under 25. Additionally the number of new business creators over the age of 60 was also twice the number of founders under 20. The study found the average age of male entrepreneurs was 40 and the female entrepreneur’s average age was 41. They also found that the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity had moved to the Boomers in the 55-64 age groups. Another key factor is the fact that the recession created a number of so-called “reluctant” entrepreneurs. The reality was that for many Boomers, self-employment was their best or only option after a job loss.

A survey by MBO Partners revealed that 30% of the booming independent worker market is boomers and 10% are even older. Only 8% of independent contractors aged 50 to 64 and less than 1% of those 65 or older are seeking traditional employment. Because the focus has been on the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world, entrepreneurial baby boomers seem to fallen into the Rodney Dangerfield category “I get no respect.”

The fact that innovation is coming from both sides of the age demographic could be great news for economic recovery. Without a doubt, these diverse age groups can learn a lot from each other. Innovation and hard work have no age barriers. Coupled with the fact that employment in Colorado small businesses rose in December at a faster pace than all but a handful of states (according to Intuit Inc.), it appears that no matter what your age, Colorado is a good place to be.

To demonstrate the fact that the impact of the entrepreneurial boomer group is now being recognized Suzy Schutz and I (Nancy Barnett), as co-founders of Apis Business Solutions, LLC, a managerial accounting firm for small businesses were recently contacted by a journalist to be interviewed for a segment on just the above subject. The entire segment was to cover the young entrepreneur and the older entrepreneur. Needless to say it is clear which category Suzy and I fell into.

The segment was shown initially in Asia at the end of December and should be on PBS in a few weeks. Below is a link showing our piece of the project.

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

Some time ago,I realized that my definition of old was always changing and in reality “old” is about 10 years older than I am ‘at any given moment.’ No matter what your age at this moment, your life is ahead of you; make it what you want it to be. Combine your talents with your experience and make something new.

As C.S. Lewis once said “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

Happy 2014!

  1. January 20, 2014 at 10:31 PM

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  2. January 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

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