Not just a bunch of fresh faces

May 1, 2009

Small businessThe belief that most startups are run by young entrepreneurs pining to build Google-sized companies before the age of 30 seems fairly widespread these days. And while that’s not surprising given the wealth of entrepreneurial talent spawned by younger upstarts in recent times (particularly in the tech arena), it’s also something of a myth.

New figures seem to suggest that older people are leading the entrepreneurial charge as of late. In 2008, the number of new businesses created in the U.S. by individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 topped all other age brackets and made a sizeable leap from the previous year, a new survey by the Kauffman Foundation shows.

In the world of franchising, for instance, more late-blooming entrepreneurs are jumping into the mix after years of clocking hours in a corporate setting.

“These days, the ranks of would-be franchisees are swelled with former corporate types . . . who are propelled by the recession to take a shot at business ownership under the protection of a proven model,” writes Reuters small-business columnist Deborah Cohen in a recent piece.

Indeed, what many small-business consultants seem to agree on is that graying entrepreneurs tend to hold a distinct advantage over their spryer counterparts – namely, experience.

“Their ability to work within a corporate structure often marks them as a safer bet than other candidates,” Cohen continues, citing franchising experts.

Entrepreneurs building homegrown businesses would no doubt also reap the rewards of experience, particularly those starting companies in industries they’ve spent time working in before.

Combine such experience with a more robust Rolodex and greater personal savings, and you may just have a recipe for success. “People in the older age brackets are much more likely to successfully start companies than younger people,” one economist told the Los Angeles Times.

At the very least, you’ll be able to say you finally got to test out that wild idea you’ve always been chasing.

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The colour of experience is not grey but gold! For those in the age bracket of 55-65 self employment is the only way to make a decent living, experienced workers are too expensive for companies to hire in these troubled economic times.