The State of Senior Entrepreneurship in Canada

SEASONS GREETINGS

With another New Year starting today I’d like to wish all of my friends and readers of this blog a very Happy Holiday season and a prosperous 2015 New Year.

INTRODUCTION

I have mixed feelings regarding what I am going to write about today.  To date I have already written 36 only blog posts about senior entrepreneurs and seniors issues in Canada and for the most part there seems to be very little interest in this subject matter.  Maybe I’m getting way ahead of myself and I need to have more patience. On the other hand, I think that the Federal & Provincial governments in Canada see the potential of senior entrepreneurship and how this area could improve the quality of life of Canadian seniors; but at the same time this cohort is basically ignored.

As a result, it appears that many Canadians 50 plus have enormous health, education, lifelong learning, and ‘productive longevity’ challenges. If seniors are not provided with adequate training resources and facilities I’m afraid that this group will find it easier to be stuck in the past OR just work and play alone because nobody cares to help them go to a higher level and find some opportunities to give back to society.

Is there any light at the end of this dark tunnel? Remember the popular TV show Star Trek? Instead of being stuck in the past, the Captain of the space ship Enterprise, William Shatner now 83 years old has not quit because of ‘old age’ just being comfortable on his ‘pasture land’, contemplating his past accomplishments.  Instead, William Shatner, a speaker, author and a seniorpreneur (senior entrepreneur or small business owner) is presenly working on a “Catch Me Up” book project.

Shatner advises that seniors need to embrace new technology and accept new challenges at a later stage of life. Seniors have skills and life experience that they can leverage to achieve great things. But in order to do that, they have to ‘catch up’ to the technology of the day.

LIFE REIMAGINED- CARP & AARP

I believe that there is a huge differents in real activities to help seniors and specifically on the topic of ‘Life Reimagined’ between CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) and AARP (American Association of Real Possibilities).

I believe that CARP is basically stuck in the past preferring to focus on getting more entitlements (Health Care) and Pension reform for Canadians rather than discussing and creating new initiatives to help seniors in Canada who want to become more active, creative, productive and prosperous in their pre-retirement or retirement life.  I’m still waiting for the day that CARP will facilitate some workshops for those Canadians who need some more help to shift from a passive retirement to a more productive and meaningful retirement.

Life Reimagined was launched by AARP (American Association of Real Possibilities) in 2013. Life Reimagined is a first-of-its kind source of online and offline experiences that guide people through life transitions by helping them discover new possibilities and connect with a community of people pursuing similar passions and goals.

Life Reimagined online centers on an exclusive, customizable roadmap available at http://www.lifereimagined.org that helps people understand where they are in their journey to achieve their goals and dreams, reflect, and make decisions in planning their next steps.  It also includes a ‘Sounding Board’- a new kind of private social network for people to surround themselves with trusted friends and allies.  Through the ‘Sounding Board’ and other connection tools members of the Life Reimagined community help each by offering advice and support to help reach their goals both big and small.  Life Reimagined Institute for Innovation, is a world class group of thought leaders in the areas of life and career coaching, psychology, personal development, health and entrepreneurship.

Question- What is  Senior Entrepreneurship?

This is my particular area of focus, passion and interest. I think that the leader in this field is my good friend, Elizabeth Isele of Wasington, D.C. who is the Founder and President of Senior Entrepreneurship Works.  Senior Entrepreneurship Works was founded in January, 2012, the organization, designed to help seniors age 50+ launch their own businesses has transformed into a Movement. For Canada to be involved in this Movement it’s critical for both CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) and Startup Canada based in Ottawa, ON to adopt some of the Life Reimagined and Senior Entrepreneurship ideas and principles; in order for Canadian seniors to become more active and creative producing meaningful projects.

The Movement is comprised of individuals, organizations, corporations and governments from all corners of the world across sectors in unlikely coalitions creating systems to boost economic self-reliance, vitality and growth for individuals, communities and the world.

Elizabeth’s Senior Entrepreneurship Works is strategically focusing on four pillars to grow and sustain this Movement and amplify it’s impact:

1. Entrepreneurship Education & Training Programs

2. Access to Capital

3. Advocacy and Public Policy

4. Research

The End goal of senior entrepreneurship is changing the negative paradigm of aging to one of positive and creative social and economic opportunities by activating seniors’ wealth of experience, wisdom and resources. This will drive our new economy through their business startups, and boost prosperity for all ages; as they pour investment dollars back into their own communities.

CONCLUSION

Today, I strongly believe that Canada is a long way from having the right kind of public policy to promote the new trend of ‘productive longevity’.  As a result, I think that the State of ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’ in Canada is hopeful because of the developments in the USA, but within Canada itself not I think that it’s not very good.

FUTURE BLOG ARTICLES

I’d like to dream that everything is fine, however; I think that there has been very little or no progress regarding Canada’s role and responsibilities in promoting ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’ and Lifelong Learning for Seniors 50 plus.

January 1, 2015 is an important date.  It means that now we can say that EVERY Boomer/Elder is at least 50 years old.  I’s now more crtical than ever to have something in place before this huge 50+ cohort approaches retirement, with a strong possibility that many seniors will have nothing purposeful and/or meaningful to do. I hate to see seniors being unimportant, invisable, politically weak, socially discountable, and economically insignificant.

Myself, I’m going to take an unspecified amount of time (sabbatical) away from my present blogging activities to focus more on RESEARCH in the area of ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’ and find out how in Canada we can take this subject to a higher level.  I will be able to study what is happening in REAL time in different countries around the World.

For those friends, readers and the leadership community who want more information about my ‘Seniorpreneur Project’ I have the following references:

1. My new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come. (Available on Amazon.com)

http://www.amazon.com/Encore-Seniors-50-Entrepreneurs/dp/1493793608

2. My website- http://www.seniorpreneur.ca/

3. My Blog address- (37 Only Blog articles) https://seniorpreneur.wordpress.com

4. My Empire Avenue Site- http://www.tsu.co/seniorbiz

5. My e-mail address- joewasylyk@hotmail.com

Thanks for your interest.  If you want to leave any comments or any ideas about how we can expedite the 50+ entrepreneur movement in Canada please feel free to do so below.

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Retired Boomers Go From Wasted Consumerism To Becoming More Productive?

Question- What is the hardest thing for most retirees to understand and put into action?

Answer- It’s what to do next?

On the Internet, EE Wint says, “When are we going to get over this belief that we all have to scrimp and save, do without during our entire working lives, living in self-induced poverty so we can retire and die with a few bucks in our pockets. Change the whole economic system so people can contribute and live a full life, not suffer so a few can live in sickening opulence.”

In my new book, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come, Boomers say their generation has changed the world for the worse when it comes to world peace and poverty.  This condition will continue if Boomers focus on increased consumerism and entitlements as thy enter old age.  We must change this paradigm from wasted consumerism to seniors becoming more productive.  More productivity will lead to more joy and more independence.  It could also create more peace in the world by striking a better balance between the rich and the poor.

Question- How can we help seniors achieve productive longevity at the municipal level?

Edmonton’s Senior Declaration Act

The Act is 2-years old on June 3, 2012 and this declaration is based on the four ideals:

1. Individuals are respected regardless of age.

2. People of all ages are safe in their homes and neighbourhoods.

3. The City’s transportation system, urban design and physical infrastructure allow all people to participate in full lives.

4. Older people have ready access to programs, employment, business, activities and services that help them stay engaged, respected and appreciated.

Linda Sloan, Edmonton City councillor and serves as a council lead for seniors initiatives across the city.  She also said that age is a gift to our city and we want to ensure our seniors’ skills, wisdom and contributions are honoured.  Furthermore, Linda said that one way is honouring the creative and artistic talents of our seniors through the annual Creative Age Festival.  This encourages seniors to get more involved in arts programs like drama, music, visual arts, literary arts, and dance.

Personally, as a senior myself I enrolled in the Writers Guild of Alberta which is part of the literary arts description above. To date I have written and self-published my new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Thir Time Has Come.  Although I am participating in the literary arts subject area myself, I would like to suggest here that we must expand the Lifelong Learning programs for seniors to include other subjects such as business and/or social entrepreneurship, biological and natural sciences, internet and social media, and possibly adding civic or community leadership for the benefit of seniors that don’t necessarily take a serious interest in Arts Programs.

Recently, I attended an Open House at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension located in the Bay/Enterprise Center Building where a new program, Citation in Entrepreneurship was announced to begin in the Fall, 2012. This should be a great resource addition for those people that are thinking about becoming an Entrepreneur or small business owner.

Some relevant advice on the topic of productive longevity was given by (KFC) Colonel H. Sanders in his book titled, Life as I have known it has been “finger lickin’ good.” Recently I was asked to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives special subcommittee which was studying the problems of aging citizens.  I told them that in the Garden of Eden God didn’t tell Adam that he should work just to retirement age.  He said in Genesis 3:19 a man should work “till thou return unto the ground”- that is, until he died.

I don’t believe that if we can afford it we should rely on loafin’. Life don’t have to be easy to be wonderful. So I think you should plan your retirement, not as though you are bein’ deprived of somethin’, but with a spirit of havin’ somethin’ added to your life.  You see, you are not startin’ out from nothin’, but from the point at which you have assimilated the lessons of a lifetime.  Those years are sort of the crown you wear as you begin the next phase of your life.

I think I’ve proved that it can be done, said the Colonel.

 

Question- So, what might happen if a productive retirement strategy is not undertaken by most seniors?

If seniors are going to be lost about what to do next, many will be found watching television all day long, reading every book they can lay their hands on, increase the sleep to half the day, or sometimes just sit.  There is nothing wrong with any of these activities so long as it is done in moderation.  Taken to extreme, these can cause depression. You need to be productive and find something you enjoy.

It’s never too late for a new career.

I’m amazed at how many workers aged 50 Plus think they must compete with younger people to secure a traditional job. At a local McDonald’s restaurant, I met a 75-year-old woman who was working part-time to save $7,500. to pay for her own funeral exenses.  She also advised me to be careful about eating too many fast foods.  I was waiting for my scheduled business seminar to start so I ordered just a coffee while remembering what she told me.  It’s just another example of a senior’s wisdom when it matters the most.

D. Weisger, on the Internet says that, “Todays conditions are the new normal, so get used to it and develop a plan that allows you to work until you are 75.  That is not doom and gloom speak, that is reality.  Everything has changed.  That said one thing has not changed, investing in yourself will provide returns no matter what happens globally.  Investing in personal training,education and practical skill sets will never steer you wrong no matter what your age.”

To add, many people 50 Plus have the maturity, wisdom, confidence, resources, and networks to start their own small businesses and become more active, creative, productive and prosperous.  They should be encouraged to do so with the help of mentors, coaches, angel investors and possibly some new business partners depending on the senior’s individual needs.

WARNING: Men, A LEISURE ONLY RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE MIGHT BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.

Women ready to go-go and men refusing to leave home are an age-old retirement portrait, says psychologist Jed Diamond, who writes about male menopause. “I see a lot of men at mid-life and older who are basically depressed.  They need understanding and help.”

Will men finally get it? Marriage counselor Kathy Nickerson says that the concept that men are the caretakers of life has been fading since women thronged to the workplace.  But Boomer women are now in a tough spot- caught between lingering memories of the way it was and newer, liberated couplings demanded by the 21st Century.

In my own personal experience last summer I attended a Walk-About: Ukrainian Cultural Heritage presented by the Minerva Senior Studies Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  The mission of Minerva Senior Studies is to provide Learning opportunities for Adults 50 Plus by developing, sponsoring, promoting, offering and participating in educational activities designed to enhance Seniors’ intellectual pursuits that enrich their lives.

On the day scheduled for this visit we all met in the morning at the MacEwan City Center Campus to get on a chartered bus for this Educational Event. I thought to myself that this was a perfect time to test the theory that most women were go-go and that men in general were no show.  I was truly surprised and shocked by the result.  There were approx. 40 people taking in this event.  Are you ready for the surprise? Out of the Total number (approx. 40 attendees) I was the ONLY male on this trip including the Host (Female).

So, what is happening here?  What happens to men who retire and cannot be budged out of the recliner or their own garage or even their garden? i.e. natural tendency to isolate themselves in their own activity.

On the other hand, women having seen the kids off on their own, cared for elderly relatives, retired from a job, see at long last their chance to experience a bit of life that has not been possible to date.  Travel beckons! Time to learn a new skill or take up yoga, dinner out and why not, become a business or social entrepreneur or small business owner through Lifelong Learning in your retirement life.  Women are tired of the domestic scene, but many of them can’t get the husband interested in anything that could develop a mutual interest and possibly save their marriage.  Men and women want to retire in style.  This is why psychologists say the divorce rate is declining for all age groups except the 60 Plus crowd.

Entrepreneurial Preparation

In preparation for becoming a senior entrepreneur and for successful aging it is very important to consider and study active brain activities.  In Chapter 3- Dare To Dream of my new writing project titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come,  I mention Richard Restak, a neurologist who 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 that edge into the NINTH decade and beyond.