Question- Why is seniorpreneurship anti-retirement?
Author, Robert E. Levinson who is still working at age 90 yrs old said that retirement “ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.” Author of “The Anti-Retirement Book” Levinson said, “I just feel so strongly that one should never retire, or if they’re forced to retire they should try to find something productive to do.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert E. Levinson is a long-time businessman and fund-raiser for a Florida College, is Collage educated and said he is comfortable financially. But when he looks around his luxury senior community in Delray Beach, he sees pain and regret. Many residents seem idle. For example, a retired physician sits in the lobby waiting for people to drop by and consult him on their ailments. Also, Levinson said, “If you made a survey of all these guys who are retired, you would find that probably 75 percent would say to you, ‘I retired too soon,'”
SENIORPRENEURS- THE NEXT BOOM
‘Seniorpreneurs’ are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship and considered by experts such as thew Kauffman Foundation and others as the next boom.
Senior entrepreneurship is the process whereby people aged 50+ participate in business startups.
In a research paper titled “Understanding the Grey Entrepreneur” by Paul Weber and Michael Schaper (2004) the opening sentence reads:
“Demographic trends in the developed world indicates that older entrepreneurs will play an increasingly important part of economic activity as populations age yet this cohort has been largely ignored in entrepreneurship research.”
Marc Freedman, Founder and CEO of Encore.org in a blog article titled, ‘Universities Cater to a New Demographic’ Boomers said that “As millions of Boomers move into a stage that has no name, no clear role in society, yet vast possibilities there is an urgent need for democratized versions of new educational programs- offered at a cost within reach of the bulk of the population and widely available through continuing education programs or even community colleges around the country.”
Marc Freedman also stressed that with 10,000 boomers a day (USA) moving into the afternoon of life, isn’t time that we rose to the occasion and come up with a new kind of education for this rapidly emerging, uniquely rich, yet still uncharted chapter in American lives?
Question- Do you think that there is enough demand for business or social entrepreneurship education, micro-business training and leadership training?
According to a new survey by Encore.org, a non-profit dedicated to promoting public interest work among older adults, only 6% have already move into non profit careers- a relatively low proportion, considering the same fraction, or 6% reported having made the switch to non profit careers in 2011- an indication that little or no progress has been made.
On the other hand, Seniorpreneurs (business entrepreneurs) are rising in numbers not only in Canada and the United States but in many countries around the world including South Africa. In my own research for the new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come, I found that a minimum of 15% have made the switch to small business careers and what is more important 20-25% are planning to become Seniorpreneurs in their 50’s, 60’s,70’s & 80’s. And, what is really astonishing we have people such as Author, Robert E. Levinson and others that are still productive in their 90’s. I can also predict that there will be some Seniorpreneurs still going strong into their Fourth Act i.e. 100 years old and older.
With all this potential for seniorpreneurship there is still a disconnect present that blocks the forward movement for the 50+ Group. For both business and social entrepreneurs i.e. retired engineers, teachers, lawyers, etc. we still have virtually no respect given to their advanced education, work experiences, skills knowledge, contacts and resources.
The prevailing solutions to date regarding education and training courses for the 50+ Group are either stupid or possibly uncaring. Job fairs in not the answer. Then there are ‘Keep in Touch’ Learning Digital devices that is basically ‘kindergarten stuff’. Lifelong Learning for Seniorpreneurs should be more relevant and expanded to have one-on-one mentors and coaches helping seniors with their OWN Seniorpreneur Projects.
Finally, Author Dr. Alex Maritz is an expert in the domain of entrepreneurship and innovation education and training and is a recipient of a prestigious Australian Learning and Teaching citation in entrepreneurship education.
Taking that seniors come with decades of experience, existing networks, greater financial flexibility and different motivations Dr. Alex Maritz introduced tips for nascent senior entrepreneurs, the following points are shared:
1. You are never too old to startup a small business.
2. Turn passion to profit.
3. Build a community of like minded people.
4. Make your workspace fit your lifestyle.
5. Staff as you grow with part timers.
6. Be innovative with your funding sources.
7. Back to learning basics- Up skill your entrepreneurship education (classes and online). This might sound cumbersome, but enhancing your business acumen pays dividends. If you go to classes, it’s a valuable networking opportunity as well.
8. Digital and internet is the new technology.
9. Your mobile device is now a pocket office.
10. Use social media for word-of-mouth marketing.
The 50+ Entrepreneur Movement is moving forward although slowly. We need more Seniorpreneurs to contact their local, and national politicians to impress upon them that lifelong learning is important to the 50+ Group. The present government’s mandate is to primarily help the younger entrepreneur (18-39) years old. However; let’s not forget that the more mature group have paid all kinds of taxes for decades throughout their lives, and now they deserve to get more seniorpreneurship education and micro-business training for their OWN Seniorpreneur project.