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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The Grandeur of Old Age

Harsh New Reality

In Vancouver, B.C. Canada, the YWCA is receiving 40 applications for every 12 spots in a new program designed for men and women over 55 who want to get back into the workforce.  The average age of participants is 62.

“We’ve had people who haven’t been able to pay their rent or are living at a relative’s or a friend’s couch,” YWCA career adviser Lynda McFee said. “There’s such a need out there with mature workers.”

Participants in the Job Options Older Workers Program may have retired a few years ago, but found they are going through their pensions too quickly, McFee said.  Others are not yet collecting their (CPP) Canada Pension Plan and are desperate for income.  Many have had health issues or stopped work to care for aging parents, and now face job hunting not only as senior, but also with a gap in employment,  Many are single, confused and don’t know what the future holds for them.  The golden age is not so golden after all for many seniors facing retirement hardships.

Gap In Employment

Personally speaking, I realized how important a gap in employment is to potential employers.  The average waiting time for seniors looking for part-time or full-time work is approaching 2 years and more.  My own unemployment lasted several years when eventually I became permanently unemployed with no hope of getting any kind of corporate job.  I was forced to create my own employment which led me to the Encore Stage of my Second Act.

Waiting For The Revolution To Come

David Hurdon is one of the growing number of Canadians who can’t wait, “I need to work,” he says.  Hurdon left his last full-time “formal” job as vice-president of retailing at winemaker Kittling Ridge at age 54.  That was 10 years ago, and since then he has been self-employed and never earned enough to set aside a retirement nest egg. 

When David heard about a job fair run by CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons)-a group representing older Canadians; that is specifically aimed at people trying to get back into the workforce.  David was optimistic about finding a good job.

Lisa Taylor says he has every right to be optimistic.  Taylor is president of The Challenge Factory and is an activist promoting a transformation of the Canadian workforce. “The concept of continuing to work in your sixties and seventies is a fairly new construct,” says Taylor after giving a pep talk to an audience of some 200 elders at the event.

Where Is The Beef? (Meaningful Jobs For Seniors 50 Plus)

The problem is that most of the jobs being offered to highly skilled mature workers right now just aren’t that attractive or meaningful.

About 600 people attended CARP’s elder job fair, billed as “work re-imagined,” for example.  But the jobs on offer were not the kinds of things the people were hoping for, said Lisa Taylor.  Lisa saw David Hurdon slumped in a chair looking discouraged; having been offered minimum-wage and volunteer jobs.  There was Mary Kay and Avon, and many less-well-known products to sell door to door or to friends.  There were franchises that required an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There were agencies like the Third Quarter trying to help you find jobs.  Angelina Hamangoda is a lawyer who has worked around the world.  Her last job before becoming unemployed was part-time at an after-school daycare, and she could find nothing at the CARP event.  “I feel very frustrated right now,” Angelina said at the CARP event. “I think all my education is down the drain.”

Open Message To CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons):

I think that there is hope and possible solutions to help the Canadian seniors 50+ transition to a comfortable pre-retirement or retirement life.  At the present time CARP’s strength is basically advocating for more entitlements from the Federal Government.  However; Canada and many other counties are shifting their resources to help seniors 50+ create their own job or small business.  Currently there is a 50+ entrepreneur movement happening around the World that promotes productive longevity vis-a-vis the present passive retirement, more closely related to a leisure retirement and sponging more entitlements from the government.

When we hear of stories such as David’s and Angelina’s given above you would think that alarm bells would be heard by large organizations such as CARP for example.  I personally think that we need a round table discussion group organized by CARP.  At the same time let’s have the seniors themselves create and organize local community coffee meetings which would provide real information from the grassroots.

I’m assuming that CARP is knowledgeable about what is going on in the USA  on this specific subject. Recently I listened to a live conference through the Internet based in Washington.  The US Senate Hearings were discussing the topic of ‘Senior Entrepreneurship’.  The partners that participated in these hearings were AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), S.C.O.R.E. (USA Retired Executives) providing mentor ship to potential entrepreneurs and small business owners, the SBA (Small Business Administration) and other ‘senior entrepreneurship’ experts.  There is an urgent need to discuss and implement ways to help seniors 50+ hands-on individually (not going to some useless job fair). Instead of the David’s and Angelina’s of Canada being frustrated and confused we need to develop some suitable community based programs, that would improve the quality of life for ALL seniors and necessarily make them more active, creative, productive and prosperous. The seniors deserve to have some meaningful and important work or even working as an entrepreneur or small business owner in their Second or Third act.