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More Older Americans Chose Entrepreneurship

Posted by: Nick Leiber on January 6, 2010

The age distribution of American entrepreneurs shifted significantly from 2007 to 2008, according to the latest U.S. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report. From the executive summary:

For the total entrepreneurship and the established firms measures, the results indicate a marked reduction (around 8% to 9%) in entrepreneurial activity for individuals in the 18-44 age group and an increase of a similar amount in the 45-99 age group. While previous reports pointed toward this trend, this year’s data indicate the need to follow this trend closely because of the possible implications it could have for entrepreneurial behavior in the United States.

Stacy Perman wrote about this trend in June in her reader-suggested story Seniors as Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come, and we touched on it again in an overview piece about our annual roundup of young entrepreneurs this fall.

Reader Comments


January 7, 2010 1:05 PM

This trend is not by choice, but as a result of rampant age discrimination by employers. States are reluctant to enforce age discrimination laws for fear of driving companies out of business or out of the state. The only choice left for those over 45 is to start their own business, take out loans, work as freelancers, and "buy their jobs".

Len Emanuelson

January 7, 2010 2:26 PM

I believe that several factors are leading to recent increased senior entrepreneurship: 1. Seniors realize that their retirements are no longer secure (401K collapse,reduced medicare, etc.). 2. They also realize that their children and grandchildren are going to have a more difficult time finding and maintaining a career path than they did. 3. Seniors willing to tap into their 401K money are not dependent on venture capital or non-existent bank loans to start a business.

I speak from experience. At 62 years old my small advertising agency that I own was losing clients due to the downturn in the economy. I also wanted to build a long-standing business that my children and grandchildren could always fall back on in tough times.

I chose a retail tire & wheel store, plus an online derivative. Using my own retirement money, I am rolling the dice so to speak. If you can start up a business in this economy, you will be able to survive virtually anything.


January 10, 2010 4:07 PM

It's never to late to start a new business.



January 10, 2010 11:19 PM


Please explain "buy their jobs".

I think I have an idea but I suspect you have first hand experience. It seems like an important concept.


January 12, 2010 8:44 PM

I think starting your own business from your passion while retirement is the best idea during recession. Film documentary about entrepreneurship ''The YES Movie'' by Louis Lautman

John Martinka

January 13, 2010 8:43 PM

My clients are business buyers. In the last few years I've had quite a few buyers in the 55-65 age range. They felt they had many good years left, didn't want to retire at the magical age of 65 and had great experience and skills to qualify to operate and grow a company.

Yes, some of these people have limited job opportunities. However, many look at a job loss as the required kick-in-the-pants to take control of their business life.

Sellers and banks like people with experience and enough money for a good downpayment. This is something that is not going to change soon based on demographics and entrepreneurial dispositions between generations. In other words, there's a lot more people over 45 than 30-45 and many are fed up with the corporate world. They will buy or start a business or get a franchise.

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What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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