Older entrepreneurs more likely to see their business succeed

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The Independent Online

Older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed in business than their younger counterparts, and more attention should be paid to them, a study has found.

Older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed in business than their younger counterparts, and more attention should be paid to them, a study has found.

Evidence shows that entrepreneurs of the "Third Age" - defined as those between 50 and 65 - are less likely to fail, because they often have more self-confidence, get better treatment from the banks, and have extensive experience, business contacts and assets, according to the study presented yesterday at the International Geographical Congress in Glasgow.

Yet although it is likely that so-called Third Age entrepreneurs will contribute greatly to the economy in future, they are largely ignored by policy makers and researchers, who concentrate on their supposedly more dynamic younger equivalents.

The report, by Professor Mark Hart and three colleagues at Kingston University Business School, says: "Starting or buying a small business could be one dream older people could fulfil once they have the time and resources to choose for themselves."

The study shows that in some areas, the proportion of people between 50 and 65 starting up new enterprises is almost as high as in the younger group. The South-west stands out as the mecca for older entrepreneurs. In Cornwall and Devon, Dorset and Somerset, just over 6 per cent of the Third Age group are involved in their own businesses, compared to 7 per cent of under-50s. This is far higher than in London and the South-east, where the overwhelming majority of young entrepreneurs are based, and is double the number of their older counterparts.

They are most commonly involved in business services, which account for more than a third of all start-ups. It probably reflects people using their previous experience in businesses to set up consultancies in areas like financial advice and accountancy, said Professor Hart.

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