Seniors (50 Plus) Search For Meaning

INTRODUCTION

The dilemma is Seniors 50+ are anxious about retirement and having a healthier longer life, but at the same time they dread the possibility of not having a meaningful retirement life. Seniors need to ask themselves some questions such as Who are you, What do you know, What can you do and What resources do you have on hand to create something of value? Also, What is your present physical, mental and emotional health, and do you need to work on some aspects to help you be a more challenging person in your pre-retirement and retirement life.

Question- Many seniors want to know how is it possible to say yes to life in spite of the different challenges seniors face such as pain, guilt and death?  Can life retain its potential meaning in spite of everything?

MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING

The author, Viktor E. Frankl in his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, said that “life is potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable.  And this in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive.”  Victor explains this by saying, “In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation “The best,” however, is that which in Latin is called ‘optimum’- hence in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at it’s best always allows for: (1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; (2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; and (3) deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.”

Quotation: “Never live in hope and expectation with your arms folded”- Anonymous

CONQUER DEFEAT

At age 65, Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC) turned a setback into a victory.  The Colonel used the cooking skills he learned from his mother and later in life opened a little restaurant that failed when traffic was re-routed away from it.

He was 65, a senior citizen and he was broke.  This is when the Colonel sat on his front porch searching for his meaning of life when the mailman came up the steps and handed him an envelope.  It was from the U.S. Government and contained his first social security check in the amount of $105.  Staring at the check there was something surging within him that said, “My life isn’t over and I’m not going to sit in a rocking chair and take money from the Government.”  To make a long story short, the Colonel made Kentucky Fried Chicken become an almost instant success. Becoming an instant success was not part of the advice given to other 65- year olds.  He said that “If a child of God thinks right, if he is right, he will have the power to rise above any defeat and conquer it.”

RETIREMENT GROOVE FOR US MORTALS

Personally, I am still learning and I am also searching for the meaning of life.  On January 15, 2014 I attended a seminar presentation given by Alexis Leclair of Uptake Consulting who said that “Retirement has always been a huge life change.  Although we still call it by the same name, today’s retirement is different.  It’s longer. It’s healthier.  Options are diverse.  Our needs and expectations may not be the same as generations before us.” 

In essence, Alexis talks about the core subjects of needing to matter, finding meaning, valuing work, small business or an Encore career and managing retirement satisfaction and happiness.

Alexis summarizes her thoughts in the following paragraph:

Mattering, because most people have never heard about it but psychologists say it is critical to our happiness.  Meaning, because since dirt was invented, people-retired or not-have wanted to have it in their lives. Work, because it’s gotten a bad rap by media and society, and we need to see work in a different light.  Managing happiness (optimism and resiliency), because ours may have been eroded when our identity, our connections and more dwindled in retirement years.  All of the topics, information and strategies were chosen because many of us never learned about them from our parents or in our busy adult years.

FINDING MOTIVATION AFTER RETIREMENT

To stay on the theme of seniors search for meaning, I attended another seminar presentation on January 22, 2014.  The presenter was Carol Kodish-Butt, an Outreach Coordinator with (SEESA) South East Edmonton Seniors Association Activity Center.  Approx. 20 members attended this seminar.

Personally, I always thought that seniors have different values and expectations compared to others.  in most cases many seniors will need a ‘hands on’ learning approach in any given Lifelong learning session.  This presentation given by Carol was not a lecture standing in front of the room but it was an ‘in your face’ round table discussion where none of the seniors attending could escape or hide anywhere.  In a lecture presentation usually you have 1-3 questions asked at the END of the presentation, whereas; in Carol’s talk everyone was on the Encore stage by first introducing themselves and then EVERYONE contributing in the 90 minute ‘pressure cooker’ like session.

Instead of being isolated and ignored everyone experienced part of what Victor Frankl shared in Man’s Search For Meaning when he talked about pain, guilt and death eg. one senior in the group shared the fact that his spouse died recently.

In this particular presentation Carol introduced ways to: stay interested in your life when you’re no longer working in a corporate job; figure out what will make your retirement life more satisfying or make you happy; and answer the question- What to do when the dreaded “de-motivation” bug attacks?

De-Motivation, What De-Motivates You?

Briefly, we know that the biggest stigma most seniors have to confront is Ageism.  Even when legislation is in place to stop this practice there are still those forces in corporate life and personal life as well that refuse to give in to this human right for seniors.

Seniors also have the same opportunities to climb ‘Maslow’s’ Ladder i.e. going from the first step your basic needs (food, shelter, safety) through to self-esteem to the highest levels of knowledge and understanding.  At the top of the ladder are the lofty goals of transcendence and self-actualization.

Carol also outlined the possible reasons that can de-motivate you.  These are as follows:

*Fear- still do it.

*Wrong goals- essential vs social self vs self-acutalization.

*Lack of Clarity- try to vision a more meaningful retirement life.

*Value Conflict- prioritize your values.

*Lack of Autonomy- get control over your project(s).

*Lack of Challenge- not small or big just grow from where you are today & enjoy.

*Grief- take time to heal & retire creatively.

*Loneliness- Get more new connections replacing old work connections if needed.

*Burn-Out- Get complete rest & re-energise yourself to perform on Second Encore Act.

*Not Knowing What to Do Next- Breakdown your own situation into more manageable pieces.

Last Quotation:  I’d like to end this particular discussion by a quote from Viktor Fankl when he says, “Just as life remains potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those that are most miserable, so too does the value of each and every person stay with him or her, and it does so because it is based on the values that he or she has realized in the past, and is not contingent on the usefulness that he or she may or may not retain in the present.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PERSONAL NOTE- I’d like to hear from my readers if they have been helped through this Blog and what you have learned if anything in order for you to achieve a more active, creative, and productive retirement life?  Any comments will be very much appreciated.  Have the great retirement life that you deserve!  Thanks for Listening.

 

 

 

Retirement Rythem: Finding Yours

STEREOTYPES AND AGISM

Herbert C. Northcott in the book titled, Aging in Alberta Third Edition said that “A stereotype is an erroneous generalization about a social group, for example, “old people are poor,” or “sick”, or “lonely.”  Such statements imply that all old people are disadvantaged, or at least that the majority are.  While some seniors are disadvantaged, the majority are not.  Nevertheless, there is a tendency to assume that seniors are worse off than they really are.

AGELESS LEARNING

The Plus 50 initiative was featured in the October issue of the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Bulletin in the article “Ready for Your Second Career?” The article discusses how baby boomers are launching new second careers and profiles boomers who have made the leap.  This is a major new AARP initiative designed to help people explore what’s next in their lives.  The AARP Bulletin ranks in the top tier of the highest circulation publications in the United States and reaches more than 37 million readers.

PLUS 50 TRENDS

A growing number of baby boomers are creating and building their own businesses.  The annual entrepreneurial activity report published by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found the share of new entrepreneurs ages 55 to 64 grew from 14.3% in 1996 to 23.4% last year.  Part of the growth is the result of the overall aging of North America.  But experts say older people are flocking to self-employment because of a frustrating job market and the growing ease and falling cost of starting a business.

An estimated 9 million Americans and 1 million Canadians ages 44 to 70 are engaged in second careers and 31 million Americans and 3 million Canadians are interested in pursuing one.  A survey from the Metlife Foundation and Encore.org shows that within the next 10 years, 25 percent of boomers hope to start a business or nonprofit; and half of these people want to make a difference in the World while earning money.

But even if they don’t get paid, “older adults want to remain connected, relevant, useful and engaged.  There’s this collective feeling of ‘we’re not done yet,’ says Marci Alboher, author of the Encore Career Handbook.

To get started regarding finding your retirement rythem speak with with people in your target field, and volunteer for a place or mentor you admire before you make the leap. “Experimenting in your 50s prepares you psychologically for a new chapter rather than being blindsided if your career ends suddenly or you’re too consumed to think about it,” says Encore.org Founder Marc Freedman.

QUESTION- Mature adults want to find their OWN Retirement Rythem but where do you go for some help?

As I have mentioned many times in previous blog articles, we are currently living in a youth oriented society and as such most Government related resources will be ear marked for the Young Entrepreneurs(18-39) years old.  The 50+ demographic will probably need some funding and new leadership from other interested groups such as angel investors, sponsors and community leaders. 

What’s happening with the two largest seniors groups in North America namely the AARP and CARP?  In Canada CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) most of the resources are dedicated to providing higher quality health care for Canadians and more tax credits for seniors eg. pension income split for seniors.  In essence, the focus is NOT on ‘productive longevity’ to make seniors more active, creative and productive but mainly on getting additional entitlements.

In the USA, Life Reimagined (AARP INITIATIVE) has been created to help you navigate change no matter what situation you find yourself in.  Life Reimagined involves six practices that guide you through change.  Think of it as a personalized guidance system.  Start where you are in your life, and see where the possibilities lead you. i.e.reflect, connect, explore, choose, repak & act. 

For more help in this area go to hash tag reimagine (#reimagine).  This is a Twitter discussion site to tap into your passions, reinvent careers, and create new possibilities.

Briefly, there is another option to help the current or potential 50+ Entrepreneur. There is an organization in Britain that is called Enterprise Nation.  In my own opinion I think that Canada should look at this option seriously to get more of the 50+ demographic involved in their own entrepreneurship project.  Enterprise Nation does networking events, startup classes and expert workshops for small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs. Enterprise Nation also have Professional Training & Coach’s. They are also well know for their ‘Startup Saturday’ event, which I think would be very suitable for potential 50+ entrepreneurs that might still have a daytime corporate job to go to.

Question for the Reader- Do you have any ideas about where the potential 50+ Entrepreneur could meet on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to discuss their OWN Retirement Rythem?  Thanks for reading this blog article!  Comments are very much appreciated.

 

Lifelong Learning & the Local Public Library

ENTREPRENEURIAL PREPARATION

Lifelong Learning everyday is the key to pursuing an active, creative and productive life.  In preparation for becoming a senior entrepreneur and for successful aging it is very important to consider and study active brain activities.  Richard Restak, a neurologist said that, “aging can be thought of as the result throughout the body of a general wear-and-tear process.”

In all body organs except the brain, increased activity leads to more wear and tear and accelerated degeneration.  In the brain the principle of operation is unique.  Activation of nerve cells doesn’t lead to a general degeneration of function but, instead, to the maintenance of neurons during normal aging.

This is really quite an extraordinary situation if you think about it: the brain in contrast to every other organ in the body, has the potential to improve with use and to keep the edge into the ninth decade and beyond

BAN ‘OLD’ STUDENTS, EH?

In a satire piece written recently by a 30-something, fourth-year University of Alberta molecular biology student wrote in his student newspaper, the Gateway that “old people don’t belong at the U of A.” One of the reasons mentioned for this apparent social exclusion was that mature students ask “too many” questions and that these students often mention “what used to be”.

I understand that mature students have different behaviors and different expectations, but HOW can we create some structures that are more senior-friendly and show more respect for seniors?

CAN PUBLIC LIBRARIES BE THE ANSWER?

I was very surprised to learn that Montreal and Vancouver tied for top spot in a global ranking of the world’s best public libraries, according to a recent study published by the university of Dusseldorf. The name of the study is, Public Libraries in the knowledge Society.  The key for Montreal and Vancouver was offerings such as the libraries digital resources and use of social media.

BOOMERS CLOSING THE TECH GAP

Not too long ago digital resources and the use of social media wasn’t important because only about 1/3 or less of all seniors were computer literate.  Recently, telephone surveys with more than 6,000 Canadians conducted on behalf of the Media Technology Monitor were used to compare technology trends among members of Gen Y defined as 24 to 33-year-old consumers, Gen Z (aged 18-23) and the 47-to-67 boomer demographic.

“While (boomers) have not grown up with publicly available Internet and wireless technologies, they have become avid users of these offerings,” states the report.  Younger people led in wireless technologies eg. early adoption of smartphones and streaming web video.

A significant fact is that the younger boomers in the survey between 47 and 57 were most likely to embrace tablets.  About 36 per cent of the consumers in the cohort said they owned a tablet, which is more than Gen Y (34 per cent) and Gen Z (28 per cent) respondents.

DIGITAL LITERACY @THE LIBRARY

The Stanley A. Milner Library in my own hometown aims to provide an engaged learning experience in the heart of Edmonton, Alberta Canada.

In my own research I have found that seniors have different expectations in the fields of Lifelong Learning and Entrepreneurship.  What better way there is to engage more seniors than having them come to their own local public library.  in fact, Peter Schoenberg, Edmonton Public Library Manager of digital literacy initiatives and web services said, “Rather than borrowing a book and returning it three weeks later you LEARN something, it’s creating a space for hands-on learning,” said Peter Schoenberg.

The SPACE and it’s equipment are designed to allow the community a flexible area to pursue their creative outlets or just sit back and play video games with friends.  Novices can experiment with the space’s hard-and software and avoid the startup cost of a new creative pursuit.  I think that this is a perfect environment for seniors that already have surplus time but now need some empowerment to pursue new and different activities in their pre-retirement or retirement life. 

THE CALL FOR ACTION

It’s my belief that we need to graduate from the traditional seniors’ centers to some new concepts in order to get more seniors to become more creative and productive.  My personal vision is to create community facilities that include wellness/recreation centers (including fitness centers c/w personal trainers), lifelong learning centers c/w program rooms that have senior-friendly hands-on learning.  The lifelong learning centers could start with the local public library as the HUB which through participation there could lead the senior in the direction of their own skills, interests, knowledge and resources.  Also, somewhere in those new facilities we also need space for a deli, coffee and Wi-Fi access for laptops, tablets, e Readers and any ‘other’ future digital products & services.

I think it’s also important to assess the ‘medical condition’ of the senior to ensure they are not trying to do more than they should for the present shape that they are in.  I believe that this new concept of learning would encourage seniors to be more active, creative, productive and prosperous in their second or third acts of their own life cycle.  Also, it would be a more holistic approach for the well being of every senior living well and being fully engaged in their own communities.

FEEDBACK

If anybody has some ideas about how we can create more senior-friendly lifelong learning facilities, please advise below?

SEASON’S GREETINGS

Happy New Year, to everyone reading this Blog article!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stereotyping The 50+ Demographic In North America

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Another Global Entrepreneurship Week has come and gone November 18-24/13.  Again, the primary focus is still on the potential and existing Young Entrepreneurs (18-39) years old.  As a result, most government resources are still dedicated to getting more young people to take a risk on creating their own employment, instead of applying for entry level jobs that are available in the marketplace.  And as usual no mention is about the plight of the 50+ Entrepreneur.  Besides myself does anybody really care and what are other people saying about this dilemma?

Are Seniors 50+ Assets or Liabilities?

“We need a major paradigm shift to get communities thinking of seniors as assets instead of liabilities,” said Jay Bloom, an activist on mental-health issues of the aging and a panelist, speaking to members of the Governor’s Commission on Senior Services at a retreat last week.  Furthermore, Mr. Bloom stated, “we know for instance (according to a Kauffman Foundation Study), that nationwide, the overwhelming number of new businesses started are launched by individuals over 50.  It’s time these individuals get the respect they deserve.”

Bloom and other commission members such as Jerry Cohen, State Director of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Oregon, said it’s time to get out a marketing message to dispel myths about seniors.

Duke Shepard, Human-Services Policy Adviser to Governor John Kitzhaber, said the ‘Oregon’ State has a lot of work to do to help seniors.  “Seniors are not just takers they’re volunteers, part of the workforce and working on small business startups,” Shepard said.  “We need active engagement of our seniors to make Oregon better.”

Seniors Categorized

Dr. Marty Shoemaker, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Vancouver, BC Canada commented in a recent LinkedIn discussion group that the issue is not aging, that happens to everybody even the young, but stereotyping of people at a certain age, (ageism) a bias that needs to adjust the overall health, life expectancy and vitality of seniors which is improving by leaps and bounds.  Dr. Shoemaker also offered that he liked the 55-65 yrs. old category to have a new view of that decade rather than “over the hill” and suggested words like “sustainers” or “extenders”.

Question- At what age then would you say you are “over the hill”?

Referencing Dr. Marty Shoemaker, let’s begin with the 55-65 age group in order to have a new view of that decade rather than “over the hill”.  I personally that they are Senior Boomers/Elders.  Another word that many people already know in Canada is being referred to as a “Zoomer” which is defined as a Boomer with Zip.

About the New Paradigm needed for aging I think that the Boomers/Zoomers/Seniors/Elders/Sustainers are basically individuals that cannot be painted with the same brush.  Some of these individuals love to spend their Winters in South America while others are still working full-time or part-time in a corporate job; OR if they don’t like their job many have transferable skills, knowledge and resources to pursue a business or social entrepreneur project.

Furthermore, I think that the mentioned “over the hill” title could be justified the instant that you stop re-inventing yourself.  How about the pop singers Paul McCartney (71) and Cher (67); Are they “over the hill”?  No! Paul McCartney and Cher have both recently created a new album of songs and they are still performing in live concerts around the World.  I believe that the new paradigm for aging should encourage and provide adequate hands-on business/personal support for people that want to pursue productive aging.

Also, I think the ‘new paradigm’ has to start with the senior.  A lot of seniors want to stay in their comfortable cocoons.  For those that desire to break out of their personal retirement cocoon we need more business or social support groups set-up, to help the senior transition to a possible Second or Third act n their pre-retirement or retirement life.  Unfortunately, to date we are seeing most of the Government resources and help being given to the Young (18-39) years old business or social entrepreneur.  Too many seniors are still being isolated and others are being told that they are ‘too old’ for any Government support programs.  This problem is compounded when there is downward pressures on annual budgets.  As a result, most seniors (including myself) are forced to go it alone where we experiment, stumble and continually re-asses our own project(s) hoping to have the right product or service at the right time, at the right price in the right place.

Question- What type of Entrepreneur Are You?

The following are some excerpts from what I think is a great Blog article written by Eric Quon-Lee, Blogger with the Huffington Post.  Eric’s article clarifies the statement that Entrepreneurship is for Everyone NOT just for the Young Entrepreneur.

Today’s venture capital community and media have heavily emphasized the youth oriented nature of entrepreneurship.  While young entrepreneurs populated the front covers of today’s magazine covers, they are part of a bigger entrepreneurship ecosystem.  From serial entrepreneurs with decades of experience to hobbyists turned business owners, there is a complete spectrum of entrepreneurship that has been overlooked by the media and those providing startup resources.

The simple reality is that the media’s focus on “youth” entrepreneurship while compelling is only part of the story.  Society needs more entrepreneurs and it must NOT only be one type of entrepreneurship.  Just as the startup ecosystem has produced a variety of companies producing a variety of products and services, society needs to start acknowledging that entrepreneurship comes in a variety of packages.

The numerous success stories in the media focus on the Millennial Generation of entrepreneurs eg. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or the Stanford University founders of SnapChat, the media message concerning entrepreneurship has been based on youth and the instant success stories that have been generated thus far.

The 50+ Demographic and Entrepreneurship

I think that some varying types of entrepreneurs that have been overlooked and which I am particularly interested in are the following:

1) The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur: As thousands of Baby Boomers are caught in the shifting dynamics of the global economy, many are taking the opportunity to remake themselves and pursue projects that they would not be able to achieve until retirement.

2) The Socially Conscious Entrepreneur: With the foundational changes that are occurring in the global economy, individuals are increasingly refusing to compromise their personal values for the sake of employment.  They are increasingly demanding that the values of their employer match their personal ones.

In essence, we need more new and interesting entrepreneurs eg. the 50+ Entrepreneur and their startups that break the current Silicon Valley stereotype of a Millennial Generation programmer to demonstrate that entrepreneurship comes in all forms from ALL ages.

Question to Readers- Should ANY Government resources be used to help the 50+ Entrepreneur begin an Encore career; OR do you think that only the Young people under 40 years of age should have whatever help they need from Government sources?

50+ Entrepreneurs Have Abundant Wisdom

Maturity, Wisdom, and Confidence

Question- What makes seniors more likely to succeed in business?

Earle, L (2003) in “Background to Productive Aging” found a factor that will exert an impact upon grey entrepreneurial tendencies is the broader social context within which the individual operates.  some societies value aging and believe that older individuals have great wisdom and experience that is an important asset; others treat the aged as largely incapable and dependent persons with little left to contribute.  If a society is supportive of independent entrepreneurs as part of what is termed “productive aging”, then more individuals are likely to start or run businesses than would otherwise be the case. (Earle, 2003)

Baucus D, and Human, S.E. (1994) also provide evidence of the impact of strong networks in assisting the startup process, and suggest that such personal links can help older entrepreneurs gain both financial and marketing support.

Adequate capital to support venture formation is a key contingency in the success of entrepreneurs at any age.

SENIORPRENEUR  MINDSET

C. Kumar and N. Patel, 72 years old- the inventor of the carbon dioxide laser, the holder of 38 patents, and the former head of the Physics and Engineering departments of Bell Labs- where he worked for 32 years- started his own small business.  Then 62, Patel sank $150,000 of his savings into launching his own company: Pramalytica.

“I guess I was trying to relive my youth,” he says, “I was doing something that I had not done before.”

However; Patel quickly realized that despite his vast experience he still had a lot to learn about starting his own firm.  Initially, Patel’s Santa Monica, California startup developed sensors that could analyze human breath for disease.  He shifted direction after realizing physicians preferred to lease rather than purchase such instruments and funding evaporated following the dot-com bust.  He then began making ammonia detection sensors for federal and state environmental protection agencies.  This led to a $13 million military contract to create a device that could detect nerve gas.  Awarded an additional contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the company now makes small lasers to destroy shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles.

Plus 50 Trends

A growing number of baby boomers are creating and building their own business.  The annual entrepreneurial activity report published by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found the share of new entrepreneurs ages 55-64 grew from 14.3% in 1996 to 23.4% last year.  Part of the growth is the result of the overall aging of North America.  But experts say older people are flocking to self-employment because of a frustrating job market and the growing ease and falling cost of starting a business.

But even if they don’t get paid, “older adults want to remain connected, relevant, useful and engaged.  There’s this collective feeling of ‘we’re not done yet,’ says Marci Alboher, author of The Encore Career Handbook.

Fly In The Ointment

I agree that the Youth today will need significant help if the current unemployment rate for younger people stays high or reduces only marginally.  But at the same time both government sources and venture capitalists are currently flocking to help the Youth (18-34) with the required supply of mentors and financing.  The fly in the ointment is the same sources are pre-judging and labelling ‘older entrepreneurs’ as being too old to go back to work or startup a new business.  As a result, older entrepreneurs have become isolated and instead of working with others they are basically forced to startup and build a business all by themselves.

A Long And Winding Road To Overnight Success

There is some light at the end of the tunnel.  One of the best case studies (Profiles) that I have read recently about current senior entrepreneurs (seniorpreneurs) was written up by Kevin Chong a Vancouver based freelance Writer.  I want to present it for discussion purposes as follows:

PROFILE- Sam Koffski, Inventor, now in his mid-eighties.

For inventor Sam Koffski it took three decades and a handful of false starts for his entrepreneurial dream to come true.

It started in the 1970’s.  Koffski was the owner-operator of a construction business mainly doing stucco work on homes.  Working at sites with a small crew, Koffski found himself needing a work bench that could handle uneven ground and be used at various heights.

“All of a sudden a light came on,” Koffski says from his home in Duncan B.C.  in 1980 Koffski designed the original Workhorse, a pair of metal brackets that tighten onto pieces of lumber to reate a sawhorse that can be adjusted to various heights and widths.  He then manufactured a few prototypes with a partner, who brought one of them to the offices of Black and Decker.  The hardware giant immediately purchased Koffski’s design.

Within three years, Black and Decker sold about 130,000 units of the original workhorse in North America.  Unfortunately, Koffski’s invention didn’t make enough money to make up the costs of materials and production.  Liability insurance was another issue.  “There were ladder companies going broke because of the liabilities,” notes Koffski.  Because of those costs, Black and Decker discontinued the bracket device.

From that disappointment, Koffski, who retired from the stucco business fifteen years ago, saw room for improvement.  “I didn’t like the Black and Decker design,” he said.  “I put my effort into redesigning the product the way I knew it should have been.”  Koffski returned from the drawing board with Workhorse II.

In 1993, the Workhorse II received a “very large order” from Home Hardware in Canada, but again what could go wrong did.  Faulty manufacturing led to a defective product.  The company that Koffski partnered with went bankrupt.  In the process, he lost his patent.

It seemed as though Koffski’s dream had taken it’s last, agonizing breath.  “I hadn’t given up, but I certainly hadn’t done anything to promote it,” he said.  That’s when he received inspiration from his son, Sid.  “My son, who grew up with the Workhorse, was renovating his house.  And he used it in so many different ways.  he came to me and said, “Look you’ve got to do something with this.”  Sid’s idea was to take his father’s invention to the Dragon’s Den.  “I thought it was a dumb idea.  But he persisted.  And that’s how we got on.”

Appearing on the CBC show in the spring of 2012, Sam Koffski successfully sold the rights to the Workhorse II to Arlene Dickinson (owner of YouInc.com) for $75,000 and a 5% royalty.  “Arlene Dickinson is wounderful,” said Koffski.

Arlene helped the inventor file a new patent for his design.  Then, with the help of his children, Koffski created a DVD demonstrating his brackets.  Arlene took the DVD to the president of Home Depot, who promptly placed an order.  Koffski’s advice to inventors is simple but hard-earned.  “Don’t give up.”

With the renamed 3D Multihorse appearing on Home Depot shelves this month, Koffski can now enjoy an active social life with his wife Lorraine and tight knit family that includes four children, nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.  For this late bloomer, the workhorse’s winding road to success is more about realizing a dream than money.  Although, the octo genarian admits, “the money will make the dream a little better.”

Discussion Time

I think that in the past and it’s probably still happening the terrain for a potential or existing 50+ entrepreneur is still a long and winding rocking road.  I believe that older entrepreneurs like Sam Koffski is probably still the normal situation taking many years to develop a new product and/or service eg. (Original workhorse).  In this day and age of collaboration the 50+ entrepreneur should have the opportunity to network with a suitable business support group to develop and market a new product and/or service quicker.  In my research, I have found examples of older entrepreneurs working by themselves on a new product only to die before their product is introduced to the marketplace, if at all.  And, often the survivors of an inventor who passes on don’t have a clue about the new product and as a result the product also dies with the inventor.

Question- Knowing that older entrepreneurs have abundant wisdom to invent, produce and market a new product or service, why do you think or don’t think that there is still blantant discrimination against senior enterprises; even though the older entrepreneur has wisdom, maturity, confidence, knowledge, skills & resources?

Please leave any comments you may have below which will be much appreciated.

IS CANADA A STARTUP NATION?

Over-50s Fear Outliving Their Money

Outliving their money is the biggest fear of Canadians over 50 today, according to CARP, the national organization dedicated to the needs of this group.

April Lewis, a British Columbia, CA- based representative of CARP (Canadian Association Of Retired Persons), is among the many Canadian seniors who thanks to the recent economic downturn, were never afforded the chance to “retire” reported Misty Harris of Postmedia News. 

“I did everything right; I had a Master’s degree, I worked my a___ off my whole life, and I kept rising to the top.  So I thought I was safe”, said Lewis, 61.  “Then one day, I was unceremoniously escorted out of the building after over 30 years in health care.”

“The biggest fear CARP members have is outliving our money,” said Lewis, who now works in a number of contract positions as a writer and spokesperson.

Colin Miller, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, said the overall message is that long-term retirement planning is essential.  “We certainly aren’t prepared monetarily; we certainly aren’t prepared in terms of physical health; and we certainly aren’t prepared on a societal level,” Miller said.  That’s where increased longevity can create fear.

National Framework on Aging

Since 1998 the National Framework on Aging was developed in Canada as a voluntary guideline for government and other policy makers and service providers with meeting the needs of seniors.  The National Framework included a vision statement as outlined in a book titled, Aging in Alberta by the author, Herbert C. Northcot.  The statement is as follows: 

Canada, a society for ALL ages, promotes the well-being and contributions of older people in all aspects of life.  This vision statement refers to the needs of seniors, that is, all that is necessary to promote their well-being in ALL aspects of life, and at the same time acknowledges the many contributions that seniors make.  Five principles were stated to facilitate achievement of the overall goal articulated by the vision statement: dignity, independence, participation, fairness, and security.  These five principles envision seniors living normally and independently as participating members of society while at the same time receiving those supports and services that are necessary to maintain independence and ACTIVE involvement as long as possible.

Question- What is ACTIVE involvement for Seniors 50 plus?

Usually, the first answer to this question that pops up for most people is volunteering, and a related answer is babysitting and playing with the grand kids.  Then, there is the opportunity to participate in your local senior’s center.   The mission of a senior’s center first organized after the end of the second world war was basically a low energy place (playing cards & socializing with other people)  to counter the high unemployment rate at that time.  Today, most mature adults have valuable traits such as maturity, wisdom, skills, knowledge, contacts and resources.  As a result, these more modern traits require higher energy activities that are congruent to a more active, creative and productive pre-retirement or retirement life. eg. Lifelong Learning Centers and business and/or social entrepreneur/small business owner startup training.  Also, we need relevant mentors across the Country that could provide business support at every stage of the entrepreneurial process.  I  also believe that CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) could collaborate with SBA (Small Business Administration) to facilitate suitable workshops and programs that would work for Seniors 50 plus.

Startup Canada Campaign

As I explained above, I strongly believe that the 50+ Demographic must be a separate category in the StartUp Canada initiative with the mission to help ALL the people regardless of age to benefit from starting their own small business.  Entrepreneurship is for everyone but we need to recognize that seniors have different expectations as compared to the Young (18-34) potential entrepreneur or small business owner.

Suzanne Grant, Delegate and Mentor for Global Startup Youth & Global Entrepreneurship has recently started a very important LinkedIn discussion group titled, Is Canada ready to be a StartUp Nation?  I am a contributing member in this group with my own focus being on the 50+ demographic.

I addressed Suzanne by saying that Startup Canada will need to collaborate more with some of the larger groups that are presently representing the 50+ demographic.  For instance, let’s make a working liaison with CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons).  Also, we need to bring to the 50+ Entrepreneur table the SBA (Small Business Association) and possibly the media like Moses Znaimer of ZoomerMedia Ltd.  Also, new this month premiering Oct. 7th, Conrad Black on Vision TV will be hosting a new radio program aimed at the Seniors 45 or 50 plus.  The goal is to give a crisp and literate prospective to the problems and questions that mature adults have on many subjects.

Then, Davender Gupta, Founder Startup-Academie in a response to this same group discussion said, “I definitely give a thumbs-up to encouraging more “startup 45″ and startup 55.”  

Furthermore, Davender mentions that “In my experience working with the VC community ( at least in Montreal), there is a real age bias against any tech startup founder over 35.  I can easily assume, that this is the case across the board, whether we’re talking about grants, award programs, government programs, and private angel investing.  We pull out all the stops for youth but once you’re 35 you’re deemed to be TOO OLD to participate in the startup ecosystem except as a “mentor”.  I think this is crazy. Imagination has no expiry date.”

Also, Davender says that, “we need to get “Startup 45/55” on the map and change this perception.  The 45+ crowd has the experience to recognize opportunities, the network from which to recruit a team, the means to bootstrap, the maturity to execute and the patience to see it through to success.

In conclusion, Davender says that activating the Startup 45/55 movement would really make Canada a Startup Nation!

Personally speaking, I think that Canada will NOT be a Startup Nation it wants to be until it welcomes ALL the interested people that live in this Nation.  In my own opinion there will not be much progress just concentrating on the Young (18-35) age group.  At the same time we will need older ‘business experienced’  mentors.  Presently we basically have much younger mentors and facilitators looking after the needs of the younger entrepreneurs.

Since we all agree that entrepreneurship is for everyone, we need to include the 50+ Entrepreneur (this is where the work/business experience lies); the Immigrant Entrepreneur (bringing new skills, culture and knowledge to the table); the Military Entrepreneur (bringing decipline and very technical training skills); the Aboriginal Entrepreneur (bringing crafting knowledge and mechanical skills); and the Social Entrepreneur (bringing social good to a small business).

Finally, I think that the KEY strategy here is basically treating EACH of the above mentioned entrepreneurial groups equally and with full respect.  It is very important to be going beyound the Youth Entrepreneur focus by getting separate facilitating  organizations started for each category of entrepreneurs found existing in Canada. Then ANY potential or existing entrepreneur in all of Canada could immediately go to their own business support group for hands-on guidance and financial support, if required.

Any comments and/or suggestions for this important discussion will be much appreciated.  Thanks for reading this new post.

Joe W.

 

 

 

 

 

The Unexplained In Planning For Retirement

What Is Planning For Retirement?

An RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) study reports that only 52% of Canadian boomers actually put a plan on paper despite understanding it’s importance.

For many Canadians a sense of futility comes from thinking “I’ll never be able to save enough money.”  They might be influenced by the old rule of thumb that suggests 70% of pre-retirement income is needed to maintain a current standard of living.

Fred Vettese and Rona Birenbaum in the Financial Post newspaper said that “If you take into account that spending habits are very different before and after retirement for most people we think 70% is vastly overstated.” They explain their viewpoint by saying, “If one has sufficient income, regular consumption- food, shelter, transportation, entertainment, home maintenance, insurance, etc.” should remain about the same after retirement.  However, the “investments”; buying a home, paying off the mortgage, going to work everyday and savings for retirement itself tend to go away. This is a critical piece of information, often missing from financial planning exercises. 

It means your retirement income target should be the percentage of your total pre-retirement pay allocated to regular consumption not the entire pre-retirement pay as many calculate.

Question- Are My Government Pensions and Dollar Based “Investments” all mine to keep?

In this area I think that we need some financial literacy programs for Canadians to explain whats really going on regarding their entitlements to Government Pensions and any “Investments” they might have saved for retirement.

In my own personal experience I have a friend, Maxine who at 75 Plus is still working at a full-time permanent job.  Unfortunately, she is also receiving the full the full Canadian CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security) pension benefits.  I say unfortunately because Maxine also experiences a significant claw-back to her Government OAS pension income in addition to losing the Age amount Federal and Provincial non-refundable tax credits.  

At the same time Maxine has significant dollar based “Investments” that incur annual $5,000 plus Investment fees resulting in badly dented retirement funds.  Like Maxine, many Canadians holding “Investments” pay hundreds of millions in investment fees and embedded adviser compensation each year.  These costs are coming under increasing scrutiny given the very small investment returns and growing concerns over ethics in the financial services industry.

Retirement Rescue Plan

In my new book , Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 plus) as Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come I say that In America, only 35% of households headed by someone age 75 or older owns any stock at all, compared to 63% of households headed by people between 55 and 64.  It’s not surprising that those aged 50 to 70 are the most likely to be hastily rewriting their retirement plans.  They own more equities and may also have been counting on shrinking home equity as a backstop in retirement.

“The recently retired are the most nervous group, but the pre-retirees are beginning to realize that in many cases retirement plans need to change,” says Timothy Wyman, a partner with the Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Michigan.

Financial planners generally advise retirees to work longer due to “Investments” in a current meltdown.  But working longer as an employee basically benifits financial planners through increased investment fees & commisions, and penalizes workers by a claw-back of Government sourced pensions.

Financial planners also advise to conserve your cash- particularly if you are fully or partly retired and can’t ramp up earnings.

New Age Retirement Plan

In essence, the limiting belief by most Financial planners which is concentrating only on savings motivates one of my central beliefs and that is ‘retirement lifestyle’ should also be considered an important factor in determining retirement planning especially for Seniors 50 Plus.  What retirees want to do will necessarily determine the increasing or decreasing of the quality of life throughout their retirement.  Money or savings may not be the primary objective.  Some senior activities might be volunteering, or maybe setting up a home-based small business or even engaging  in social entrepreneurship activities.   As a result, some consideration for ‘retirement lifestyle’ would form the basis of planning for retirement in addition to strictly savings; and retirees would have ‘other options’ for becoming more active, creative, productive and more prosperous in their retirement life.

Besides having the chance to write off business related expenses (not available if you are working as an employee) by setting up a small home-based business, there is also the possibility of producing a significant profit margin based on your own efforts.  Even the worst case scenario i.e producing a net loss in your business has some limited benefits.  You can incur small business loses up to 3 annual years.  These annual loses can be used to shelter any ‘other’ taxable income that you might have during those same years.   On the other hand, net profits could provide enough additional monetary resources to supplement your meager Government pensions.  And, as a result the increased quality of life  could switch the retirees focus from entitlements to a successful new lifestyle which would necessarily change the planning for a new retirement.

There is a well respected senior’s advocate, Jane Bryant Quinn, AARP that poses an intersting quesion on this same topic which is as follows:

Can You Really Trust a Financial Adviser?

It’s the hardest question to answer in personal finance.

There’s a world of self-serving advisers out there, laser-focused on getting a piece of your retirement savings.  Jane Bryant Quinn says, “Trust no one,” but that’s not practical when your trying to manage money to last for life.”

Furthermore, Jane explains that the better approach is understand where your advisor’s self-interest lies and ask yourself whether you can work around it.  Surprisingly, the biggest hurdle you might have to overcome is your own polite tendency not to contradict what your adviser says. You might even agree to invest in something you suspect is not altogether good.  Yet, as studies consistently show, many advisers will give poor advice in order to earn more for themselves.

Finally, Sunita Sah, assistant prof. of business ethics @ Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in a study introduced the term the ‘Panhandler’ effect.  Sunita explains that some combination of social pressure, desire to cooperate and awareness that the adviser is asking for a favor (the “panhandle”) can lead us to make a decision that’s against our own financial interests.

We don’t want advisers to think we’re mistrustful, so we agree, sometimes reluctantly, to what they want.  In the end it’s still our money.  One way to protect youself is to work with advisers who charge only fees, not sales commisions.  Self-study and setting up a self-directed financial plan is another way to become more independent in your financial life.

Joe W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50+ ENTREPRENEURS WANT IN AND NOT TO BE NEGLECTED

INTRODUCTION

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. 

 

 

 

Seniors (50 Plus)- IT’S Time To Plant A ‘MUSTARD SEED’

On November 9, 2006 I started the ‘Seniorpreneur Project’ on the website called seniorsdaily.net.  On this website I posted my first message- a ‘mustard seed’ that grew into a movement:

Quoting from my own book, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come on (page 9) I said that, “I would like to take the subjects of finances and lifestyle for seniors to a different higher level.  hopefully, this could see a movement where seniors are empowered to become (business and/or social) entrepreneurs, or as I understand them to be seniorpreneurs. This would enable seniors to live a more enlightened retirement life and give them a great option to be more productive and be able to contribute more to society.”

I mentioned this before but it’s important to mention it here again in the context of seniors knowing how and when to plant  a ‘mustard seed’.

After settling his bills, Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC) was penniless at the age of sixty-five.  The Colonel’s ‘fixed income’ at the age of 65 was a Social Security cheque in the amount of $105.  Many of our seniors today are at the same crossroads just like the Colonel had been at one time in his retirement life.  With the help of the right entrepreneurial mindset, motivation and utilizing his own interests, abilities and circumstances Sanders planted a ‘mustard seed’ that empowered him to create a successful small business around the new business ideas of a secret mixture of herbs & spices, and a pressure cooker method for cooking chicken.  And, the rest is history.

Question- How Can Seniors (50 Plus) Express Their Own Individuality More in their  ‘mustard seed’ planting?

There is a latent ‘mustard seed’ ready to be planted by many Boomers/Elders in the 50 Plus demographic. Former Edmonton Senior magazine columnist Louis Broten who passed away recently on May 7, 2013 at the age of 99 had many insights into some seniors issues.  In his book titled, ‘Looking Forward Looking Back Broten said that, “in these distressing times it is easy to forget that senior citizens have been brainwashed for over 30 years into thinking that all the platitudes expressed by governments in word and deed about the debt owed to our pioneers were sincere. They might have been at the time.  Now we are looked upon as parasites upon society.  We have become complacent and have concentrated solely on enjoying our retirement to the fullest extent,” (vis-a-vis taking time in retirement to plant a mustard seed or two).

Broten was also questioned by several reporters about senior citizen activity.  They were very interested in what was taking place with seniors.  However, it appeared that they had insufficient knowledge of conditions affecting seniors, their views, the function of seniors centres and where they were located.  Even today as we are studying the role, place and value of seniors centres we must somehow add the advocacy component and to encourage seniors to plant a ‘mustard seed’ to give them a time of productivity, growth and self-realization.

Question- What might happen if there are not enough ‘mustard seed’ plantings by the Baby Boomer generation?

The Rock band, The WHO in their 1965 rock anthem My Generation sang, “Hope I die before I get old”.  The sneering words, delivered by lead singer Roger Daltry, and the song remain icons for the Baby Boomer generation to this day.

More ‘Mustard Seed’ Plantings OR Growing Old In Despair?

The theme of growing old in despair is real and it needs to be discussed by all the generations in a collaborative effort.

Canadians 65 and older have the highest suicide rate of any group in the Country.  About 33 out of every 100,000 individuals in that age range die by suicide in Canada annually.  And older, white males are the most likely to commit suicide, a benchmark 2005 study found.

Dr. Paul Links is a chief of psychiatry for St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ontario Canada as well as serving as professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Western University.  He says that predicting the future is a fraught business, but the prospective mental health of Baby Boomers needs to be discussed.

Dr. Paul links says that, “identifying those at risk is the first step and we know some Baby Boomers have experienced high use of drugs and alcohol in the past.  Now they feel hopelessness and anger on a scale that may lead them to suicidal options”.

Our very popular Mayor of the City of Edmonton, Stephen Mandel at 68 stressed the importance of community support to avoid the pitfalls of aging, including neglect and abuse.

“Being part of a greater community is really important.  Isolation is really the enemy,” Mayor Mandel said.

So, not every Senior(50 Plus) is interested or capable of planting, growing and harvesting a ‘mustard seed’ but I think that we should organize and develop a business support group, that is run by successful seniors in the past.  Our main goal would be to help as many 50+ social and/or business entrepreneurs as we can to enhance their own quality of life, and have them contribute more to society. i.e. productive longevity.

The Author, Louis Broten said, “In summation, we need a “wake up call” to all seniors; we need to drop our snowbird mentality; we need advocacy action at the centre level; and we need central legislative council to weave it all together”.

Then, and only then, can we as citizens create the climate for a better society for all, remembering that unless we make it a good place in which to live for us all we have no moral right to make it a good place for any of us.

 

 

 

 

 

Aboriginal Business and Senior Business Startups

Question- What is a common factor for these different entrepreneurial groups?

In my recent research and past work experience I found that Aboriginal Business and Senior Business Startups entrepreneurs have comparable needs and aspirations.  We have often heard the phrase ‘Entrepreneurship Is For Everyone’.  But if you look around in Canada and in any other Country you will likely find that specific hands-on business support help for Aboriginal and Senior Business Startups are literally at the bottom of the totem pole.

Is it because very few people understand these two new groups of entrepreneurship OR is it because we still don’t have the right mix of mentors and/or coaches to empower these two groups?  Personally, I think that it’s the latter.  We really need the very successful Aboriginal and Senior 50+ Entrepreneurs to come forward and provide some entrepreneurship leadership.  At the same time those experienced entrepreneurs that step up will enable them to give back to society as a social entrepreneur.  At the present time I think that we have too many training programs for the Young Entrepreneur (18-24 years old).  In some cases there are daily programs scheduled that will eventually take valuable time away from real entrepreneurial activities.  I also think that especially in Canada but to a lesser extent in the USA if we don’t pay attention to both the Aboriginal and the 50+ Entrepreneur these groups will continue to be isolated, unimportant, socially discountable, politically weak and economically  disadvantaged and insignificant.

Some Aboriginal Business Insights

First of all, I am asking for more discussion help from individual Aboriginal and Senior Business Entrepreneurs where we can explore this topic more personally and in greater detail. In order to get everyone on the same page I have a hot discussion going on the website: YouInc.com/forum

In another discussion titled Aboriginal Entrepreners and Economic Development, Candace of Vancouver, BC Canada in a recent post said that, “Aboriginal Entrepreneurs tend to be social minded and when you grow and are in financial crunches there doesn’t seem to be much financial support within your own community.  When Aboriginal Bands recognize that dewvelpment of small business is viable and necessary for economic sustainability we can only look up (and pray).  A girl who owns her own kayak company for 12 years still holds on to the dream.”

Candace went on to say, (Joe), in your discussion regarding senior and aboriginal entrepreneurs I recognize your hope for inclusion. In my community gender equality has yet to be recognized.  Job creation is predominately resource/industry based and therefore absent and under represented by women which is always a disservice to children.  It needs to start with a discussion.  It has me thinking; especially about Elders and Entrepreneurs.

Question- Is there any hope for Aboriginal or Senior Business Entrepreneurs in the vast Northern Territories in Canada?

Arctic Radio in Nunavut, said, “I can think of a few senior entrepreneurs across Nunavut…..in Clyde River, Arviat and almost in each community in the Kitikmeot region including Kuguaruk.  Perhaps in both NWT and the Yukon Territories, as in Nunavut senior entrepreneurs mean and be something a little different for the North.”

More from Arctic Radio…..”I can only comment on Nunavut so that said….maybe that certain groups within the senior entrepreneur demographic just might not wish to retire in Nunavut, some Inuit like to retire in the South.  Meanwhile, the 50-65 group may be relatively older here than in places with different levels of access to goods and services. But on the whole, I’d say yes, places like Taloyoak, Nunavut and Coral Harbour, Nunavut do have a full opportunity to achieve social and economic power, but with at least double the effort, double the time, double the cost, and that with the prospects of perhaps only half the return given the size of their immediate market (most towns are under 1,300 people).  Human and financial capital may also be more limited and shall we say dynamic here per capita than elsewhwere.

Services as basic as restaurants are near absent in Nunavut and Yellowknife, NWT is where all their food except ‘wild food’ comes from.

To explain some of the possible distribution channels to the South Arctic Radio says, So, we may be acting as a catalyst for senior entrepreneur startups in the South in one way or another.  Develping this North/South relationship is consistent with recent calls at the Nunavut Eonomic Developers Association by the Deputy Minister of the Economic Development  Department…to forge ahead with our 3 main corridors to Southern markets so that businesses and business opportunities may mutually grow (typically Baffin region to Ottawa, Kivaliq region to Winnipeg, and Kitikmeot to Edmonton/Calgary).

In a related subject, the City of Edmonton and the Alberta, Canada Provincial Government signed an agreement on Thursday, May 24/13 to improve life for Edmonton’s growing aboriginal population. The two levels of government decided last year to work together on such priorities as youth leadership, opportunities for women, economic development and promoting safety, Aboriginal Relations Minister Robin Campbell said.

I like this innovative Pact however; if we are going to help more Urban Aboriginals I think that we need to organize and develop an entrepreneurial program for this Group. This would enable Urban Aboriginals in the Province of Alberta, Canada to create their OWN jobs or small businesses.