Baby Boomers and Entrepreneurship

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

Baby Boomers and Entrepreneurship

When you conjure up the image of a typical entrepreneur, the stereotype tends to describe a person who is young, brash, with nothing to lose.  But is that really the case?   

According to a recent report by ABC News, it might actually be those frisky Baby Boomers who are currently leading the charge of entrepreneurship in this county.  The article cites the annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, which found that, “The share of new entrepreneurs ages 55 to 64 grew from 14.3 percent in 1996 to 23.4 percent last year. Entrepreneurship among 45- to 54-year-olds saw a slight bump, while activity among younger age groups fell.”

The story goes on to mention that although the Kauffman Foundation doesn’t track startups by people over the age of 65, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that group has a higher rate of self-employment than any other age group.”

It makes perfect sense for a number of reasons that Baby Boomers would be big players in the entrepreneurial market.  In terms of pure necessity, starting your own business might be the best (if not perhaps the only) option to generate income for certain people now facing an uncertain retirement situation.  The recession hit savings accounts hard, and re-entering the job market isn’t always an option for aging adults.  It’s no secret that we’re currently living in an employer’s market as it pertains to the job market, and the unfortunate fact is that job-seekers of a certain age often get the cold shoulder.  In the end, developing your own job might be what it takes to regain financial stability.

On a more positive note, another reason why Baby Boomers might be developing a knack for entrepreneurship is because, as the old adage states, with experience comes wisdom.  Capability and know-how are invaluable characteristic traits for people attempting to start a small business, and Baby Boomers are able to draw on a significant amount of time in the workforce when striking out on their own.  Drawing on the confidence that comes from years of experience is a great stepping stone to success.

How long this particular trend continues is anyone’s guess, but what we do know is that at least as of now, entrepreneurship is not just a game for the young and reckless anymore.