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The Rise and Rise of the ‘Fab-preneur’ (or Gran-trepreneur as some are calling!)

granpreneur imageArticle by Fabafterfifty

New research confirms just what we’ve been saying on Fabafterfifty – that more women than ever are looking to set up their own businesses in their 50s-although I have to say I hate the term that ISME have come up with Gran-trepreneur! Much prefer Fab-preneur! They’ve spent their lives working for others, now Britain’s 50-somethings are setting up shop and doing it for themselves in 2012.

A staggering 71 per cent of mature women say they’re considering going into business themselves this new year, creating an entirely different breed of business woman – the ‘gran-trepreneur’! (ouch!!!)

Instead of retiring or opting for the quiet life, they’re putting their money where their mouth is to create an exciting new breed of cottage industries.  And they say bad bosses and workplace ageism are fuelling the grey power revolution.

According to the survey, commissioned by mature online retailer isme.com, one in eight 50+ Britons now say a lack of interesting jobs and chances for promotion are motivating them to strike out alone, and 52 per cent admitting to creating a start up so they can be their own boss – following bad experiences with managers. And one in ten insisting middle-age – between 41 and 50 – is the best time to start up your own business.

When it comes to the type of businesses they’re creating, there are as many choices as there are ‘gran-trepreneurs’.  So while more than a third will opt to do something completely different from their current career, a quarter are hoping to make money from an existing hobby.

Food and drink, followed by craft-based ventures were the most popular areas with more than half working from home and ten per cent using a converted shed as their base.

A minority admitted being nervous about going it alone; citing money worries as the most likely reason for not setting up (52 per cent), followed by a lack of confidence (33 per cent) and a fear of failing (31 per cent).

Life and career do begin at 40 or 50

Hilary Farnworth, senior lecturer at the London Metropolitan University Business School, is a firm believer in women’s enterprise and innovation and specialises in work with older women. She comments, “These findings show just how much life has changed for British women – and how, for so many of us, life really does begin at 40 or 50.

“Later in life many women can often face an identity crisis, shaken by divorce, kids flying the nest or even being made redundant. Dramatic changes such as these lead women to search for new ways to reconstruct their identity and define who they are, with many women finding a sudden new lease of life and discovering a more enterprising-self.

“This new found energy amongst older women has meant that the growth of micro businesses set up and managed by women over 50 is rapidly increasing. Most people are now working until 70, so if you set up a company at 50, that’s another 20 years in which to be contributing to the economy.

“Women reach a stage where they think ‘If I don’t do it now, then I’ll never do it’ and find the confidence needed to embark on a new journey, following a passion they may have put on hold up until now.”



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  1. Ellie Wilkie

    April 2, 2012

    Nature abhors a vaccum . Women over 50 often have gaps in their lives left by departing children etc. I found the trick was to hold still and see what comes in. There will always be something. It may have arrived earlier but we were always too busy to listen.

  2. Karen Knott

    April 2, 2012

    Don’t know why they feel obliged to undermine the efforts of our dynamic age group by using a tag like Gran-trepreneur! (I thought ‘olderpreneur’ was bad enough but this is even worse!) Business is an increasingly attractive way for Fab-preneurs to earn money on their own terms and in a way that enables them to use their experience, their energy and their passion.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      April 2, 2012

      Karen, it winds me up every time I see these sorts of labels!! Many women over 50 setting upbusinesses are not grandmothers or even mothers – and to be given a label like this is so insulting! What about fathers and grandfathers -will they be given labels too?

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