Second Acts and the Aging Entrepreneur

Do not go gentle into that good night. More people are showing how starting a business isn’t just a young person’s game.

Mick Jagger famously said in his younger days that he would rather be dead than singSatisfaction at 45. Well, now he’s 75 and he is still singing Satisfaction. Publicly.

Contrary to what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Last Tycoon (“There are no second acts in American lives.”), there are turning out to be many second acts for entrepreneurs. And surprisingly, these second acts are increasingly among people over 55. There are actually more companies founded by codgers than by kids these days.

Note this recent quote from The Kiplinger Report: “One growing sector in the U.S. job market: Baby boomer entrepreneurs. By 2020, those at or near retirement will launch 25 percent of businesses.” According to the Kauffman Foundation, people 55-65 started 23.4 percent of companies in 2012 (the latest year it reported.)

For example, Moneynews reports that the average age of 500 recent applicants for a Florida entrepreneurship program funded by the U.S. Labor Department was 51. The article quotes Andrew Duffell, CEO of Research Park at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, who says older entrepreneurs are increasingly moving to Florida, not for retirement, but specifically to form businesses. Duffell says that his park includes a technology business incubator to assist startup companies and over 30 percent are run by people over 50.

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