A recent survey conducted for TD Canada Trust found an astonishing 54% of boomers nearing retirement had either started a small business (15 per cent) or were contemplating it (39 per cent). Furthermore, sixty-seven percent intend to venture into something that has nothing to do with their day job. If this turns out to be the actual situation there will be a pent up demand for community based mentors, coaches and micro-financing sources to help the 50+ Entrepreneur become more successful in Canada and around the World.
OLDER WORKFORCE IN CANADA
According to recent Statistics Canada data more than half of employment growth in Canada in the past year has taken place among people aged 55 and over.
The federal agency said that employment has grown nationally by 1.9 per cent, or 336,000 positions, from a year ago.
Among people aged 55 and over, employment is up 171,000 or 5.4 per cent.
Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB FINANCIAL, said as society ages people naturally will be more attached to the workforce and I’d like to add, many seniors will probably have a latent desire to startup a small business to satisfy a dream or to check-off another item on their bucket list.
“I think 65 will mean less and less going forward,” Hirsch said. “People are healthier. They’re often more engaged in their work lifestyles and there’s more flexibility being offered to workers.”
50+ Entrepreneur (Business)
To date it appears that overall there is not nearly enough focus being placed on the 50+ Entrepreneur in Canada. In my recent research I found that Canada is not alone having this problem. It’s occurring to a lesser extent in the USA but similar to the situations presently found in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa among many other countries too numerous to mention.
Startup Canada is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization that hopes to accelerate entrepreneurship and startup success in Canada. Recently, I was advised by Project Manager, Allison Jay Smith on behalf of 1,000 Startups for Startup Canada that the 50+ Entrepreneur will be added as a separate category for potential and existing entrepreneurs. The existing categories are: Male, Female, Aboriginal and Newcomer (Immigrant) to Canada. To be added is the 50+ Entrepreneur. Of course, there are other categories such as the social entrepreneur and the military entrepreneur for more consideration.
It’s very important to note that the 50+ Entrepreneur has different expectations such as maturity, wisdom, work experiences, skills, interests, knowledge, contacts, and financial & personal resources. Because of these significant differences I recomend that Startup Canada recruits some qualified SENIOR (45 Plus) mentors and coaches that could create an environment of seniors helping other seniors in their own community. Also, if required younger entrepreneurs, mentors or coaches would still have the opportunity to collaborate with the 50+ entrepreneur, especially in regards to the areas of computer literacy besides the very technical aspects of their own project.
50+ Entrepreneur (Social)
Craig and Marc Kielburger Co-Founders of Free the Children said at the 2013 Skoll World Forum, that Canada lags in fostering a generation of social entrepreneurs.
Canada trails the United Kingdom and other countries in taking full advantage of this burgeoning win-win movement that merges smart business sense and pursuit of a better world. The ideas and the people are ready to go but our governments hold us back.
Social enterprise is not an unfamiliar concept in Canada. institutions like the MARS Discovery District in downtown Toronto, the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, and the B.C. Centre for Social Enterprise Link support social entrepreneurs across the country.
I think that Startup Canada will have a similar problem organizing the 50+ social entrepreneur as it does with the 50+ business entrepreneur i.e. Social Entrepreneurship requires a surplus of time to achieve the best results for the public good. In this regard I suggest that we can focus on the 50+ demographic especially in retirement where free time is usually more abundant and skills, interests, knowledge, and resources could be gathered more easily to work on suitable social projects as required.
What Should Be Done for the 50+ Entrepreneur( business and/or social)?
I think that the 50+ Entrepreneur will need a separate business support group in their own community, one that is not intimidating and also one that can provide one-on-one mentors and/or coaches depending on the type of business or social project that is being considered or that already exists.
The Boomers Are Coming, The Boomers Are Coming!
Because of the increasing number of boomers reaching retirement age, there are a significant number of people desiring to be more active, creative, productive and prosperous in their pre-retirement or retirement life. If some business support groups were created for seniors they could provide a visible network of like-minded individuals to discuss their mutual problems and successes. This could bring to the table some new ideas to inspire seniors to become more active and productive in society. We know that there are seniors out there that want to pursue their OWN secret talent or ability just like Colonel Harland Sanders did at age 65. The Colonel was BOTH a 50+ business entrepreneur AND a 50+ social entrepreneur, which should probably be the ultimate goal for ALL the potential and existing 50+ Entrepreneurs.
I would appreciate any comments that you might have regarding the problems and/or successes you are experiencing as a 50+ Entrepreneur. And do you think that the 50+ Entrepreneur Movement is coming along nicely OR do you think that older people are still being somewhat discriminated against, when it comes to getting more government or private help in this important area for seniors 50 plus? Thanks very much for reading this and commenting if you wish to.