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.

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.

 

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.

Seniors(50 Plus) Are In A Financial Dilemma

Will they finally achieve social and political power?  Will they take on the persona of past generations defined as being unimportant, invisible, politically weak, socially discountable, and economically insignificant?

I wrote a new book titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors(50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come.  The purpose of this book is to sound the alarm and find a business model that could help seniors regain control of hard-earned financial resources and live the dream of an active, creative, and prosperous retirement life.

Seniors are best known for their maturity, wisdom, resources, skills and the varied working and business life experiences.  I want to illustrate some of the challenges that seniors have in quotations from two different authors who are well versed on the Seniors demographic.

“The rules of money changed in 1971.  Today, we see the tragic results of that change.  The tragedy shows up in the lives of people who are not only out of work, but in many instances too old to go back to work.  The tragedy is the erosion of their savings as inflation marches on.”   by Robert Kiyosaki, ConspiracyOfThe Rich.com

“Recently I was asked to testify before a US 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.”  by Colonel Harland Sanders

In other posts I will be talking about HOW seniors can become more active, creative, productive and useful in their retirement life.