The 2008 U.S. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report shows that from 2007 to 2008, the rate of entrepreneurial activity among senior US citizens increased while the rate among younger Americans declined. Several other reports also reveal this growing phenomenon of people aged 55 years and older becoming small business owners.
Professor Scott Shane of Case Western University and Anita Campbell, owner of BizSugar believe there are a couple of reasons for increase in older entrepreneurs.
Perhaps the older generation is more entrepreneurial, or perhaps they have more job skills and thus the confidence to go into business for themselves.
Many people at age 55 and up tend to be at a stage in their lives where they can afford to pursue long-held dreams of owning a business. Chances are, they are empty nesters. They don’t have the expenses they had while raising children. Their homes may be paid for. They may have accumulated savings that they are now free to use. In fact, they may have enough financial cushion that even if the business doesn’t work out, it won’t make much difference in lifestyle – they can afford to lose it.
It may be that those age 55 and over are starting their businesses due to being laid off — and unable to get another job.