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The growing trend of ‘silver start-ups’. Never too late to set up a business

Article Mary-Jane Kingsland

There is a growing trend for ‘Silver Start Ups’; namely people of older years, shunning the notion of compulsory retirement and starting a new business. Indeed, research reveals a 18.7 per cent increase in start up business amongst the over 65’s and a 10.8 per cent increase in the number of so called Silver Entrepreneurs, defined as aged between 55 and 64.

Simply Business – a business insurance provider – recently analysed 350,551 requests for quotations and found that the over 55’s account for 7 per cent of all new business start ups.

The 25 – 34 year age group still accounts for the highest number of start ups (35 per cent) but the greatest growth area is amongst those in the older age bracket. Moreover, new start up business now accounts for 46.9 per cent of insurance applications, showing an annual growth rate of 2.99 per cent for the period 2010 – 2011.

This compares with drops in 2008 of -3.6 per cent and -0.14 per cent in 2009. Moreover there is now greater start up growth and activity outside of London; historically the UK’s entrepreneurial hotspot.

An increase in entrepreneurial activity

Whilst the greater London area enjoyed a 3 per cent increase in activity – in itself a triumph given the trading climate – the Midlands, South East and South West saw an average increase of around 4 per cent. With the exception of Northern Ireland, the Eastern region topped the UK charts with a 4.52 per cent increase in entrepreneurial activity. These heartwarming figures will come as no surprise to anyone involved in the support and encouragement of start up business. Countrywide, we enjoy a plethora of skills and experience which offer targeted advice, facilitate networking and results driven education.

As a Fab after Fifty entrepreneur and self employed business mentor – and one of only 50 UK Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors; I have first hand experience of helping many start ups – some of which could be described as Silver. My own anecdotal evidence supports the view that a more flexible attitude to work and career planning, coupled with increasing life expectancy and the shifting sands of pensions: public and private, have encouraged many to consider a revitalised career as they approach the nominal age of retirement.

There are many reasons for wanting to launch a new business later in life and they may not all be financial. You may have dreamt of being your own boss and you may decide to enjoy more control of your remaining working days but, whatever the reason; Silver Start Ups are boosting the UK economy considerably.

Mary-Jane is a Business Mentor and Columnist working in Norfolk. You can contact her at mj@maryjanekingsland.co.uk and read her online http://goo.gl/KCFP5  Please feel free to leave a comment and share your own experiences.

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  1. Gill Ashby

    February 21, 2012

    As for one falling straight into this bracket it never ceases to amaze me how people talk about this with surprise. We are now a generation that have worked maybe not the whole of our working lives as some mothers took time out to raise children and then perhaps returned to work. Others have worked continuously and have seen amazing changes in the workplace. However what we have in shed loads is experience. This experience, be it of the work environment, travel, family and children experience, all provide such rich pickings to run a business from. The business maybe one bought off the shelf eg. franchise or network marketing or an idea someone has had at the back of their mind for along time. It is the experience that we have that is the mainstay of this particular age range which gives us such a good grounding in business. Practical business skills of accountancy, employing people HR are all skills that can be bought in. Managing people, time management, organising skills juggling “stuff” is what in my experience many, many women can bring to the table and do with such ease. I am having the time of my life having started in the Health Service as an Occupational Therapist. I then ran a high tech electronics firm for a number of years and now combine my skills of my two last jobs helping and coaching others to run their own businesses enabling them to develop a lifestyle of their choosing. It never ceases to amaze me how practical and competent we are given the freedom to choose.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      February 22, 2012

      Gill, I couldn’t agree more. So often women forget the skills they have acquired that can add value to an organisation or business, or a voluntary organisation. Important to focus and understand your strengths in business.

      • californiagirl

        March 11, 2012

        It is wonderful to see posts like this. I, too, am in the beginning stages of a new venture.
        I have worked on and off while raising children, always keeping my hand in there. But then
        the lay offs came and the American economy hit the skids and most of us found ourselves
        out of work.
        I am taking the opportunity, even though I am scared, to start two new careers! One is teaching
        and the other is my art photography business. Now is the time to seize the day, I feel.

        So, bravo to you and keep us posted.

        I love to see the opinions and experiences expressed by Europeans and the rest of the world as well.

        • Ceri Wheeldon

          March 11, 2012

          Good luck with your new ventures- I’m sure you’ll do well-making the decision to start is often the hardest part!

  2. Sandra Corcoran

    April 14, 2012

    This is fabulous to read and confirms what I think the over 50s are well motivated reliable and have a can do attitude. New things are scarey I started http://www.sandracorcoran.myarbonne.co.uk whilst approaching my 60th birthday and it has been the best decision of my life. Love helping others start their own business using all the skills I have and giving them the opportunity to link with a global American company which is so professional and quality. I am heading for Las Vegas this month for the Global Training Conference and I have met so many wonderful inspirational entrepreneurs from UK, US, Canada and Australia and having a great time and feel and look good too….

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