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Senior Entrepreneurship

Policy Brief on Senior Entrepreneurship*

Entrepreneurial Activities in Europe

Key messages

The population is ageing in the European Union – the proportion of people over age 55 was 30 % in 2010 and is expected to be approximately 37 % by 2030. Inactivity in older age groups increases the strains on social security and pension systems, although this is not inevitable since older people often have their health.

However, few older people are involved in entrepreneurship and their enterprises tend to be less growth oriented than firms of younger entrepreneurs.

At the same time, there is a growing population of healthy older people with the skills, financial resources and time available to contribute to economic activity through extending their working lives, including through entrepreneurship.

To increase entrepreneurship by older people, policy should:

i. Create a positive awareness of the benefits of entrepreneurship for older people among older people themselves, and in society in general;

ii. Assist business start-ups by older people by supporting relevant business net­works for older entrepreneurs and providing training to fill knowledge gaps on entrepreneurship skills for those who have spent their working life as employees;

iii. Ensure that older entrepreneurs have access to financing schemes, recognizing that some groups of older entrepreneurs (e.g. those starting a business while unemployed) may need start-up financing while others (e.g. those with high incomes) may not.

iv. Highlight the possibility of acquisition, rather than start-up of a business, as a means into entrepreneurship for an older person as it may be quicker, less risky and can facilitate another person retiring who may wish to do so;

v. Encourage older people to play a role in promoting entrepreneurship by others by becoming business angels or by mentoring younger entrepreneurs.

vi. Ensure that tax and social security systems do not contain disincentives to entre­preneurship for older people, including investment in other businesses.

Read more by clicking on the title Policy Brief on Senior Entrepreneurship         

*excerpts from EC and OECD paper



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