50-year-olds emerge as the ‘new entrepreneurs’

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More people in their 50s are starting a business of their own than ever before according to a report yesterday.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) for 2013 report revealed that the UK outperformed countires such as France and Germany on almost all entrepreneurship indicators and, while activity dipped after a 2012 peak, levels still remained just above the longer-term trend.

Led by prof Mark Hart of Aston Business School and prof Jonathan Levie from the University of Strathclyde, the report compares activity, attitudes and aspirations throughout the UK, France, Germany and the US.

From 2002 to 2008, entrepreneurial activity among over 50s has had a long-run average of just four per cent.

However, from 2008, the rate for over 50s has shown a marked increase, reaching its highest ever level of 6.5 per cent in 2013.

This increase applies to both men and women, although male rates were ‘significantly higher’.

“The shake-up from the recession has provided the impetus for people over 50 to say that it’s time to do something they’ve always wanted to do and take an opportunistic approach to creating their own business,” said prof Hart.

“These are not people who are past retirement, but individuals with years of productive activity ahead of them and their move into the ranks of entrepreneurs opens an interesting new aspect within the UK’s business culture, both socially and economically.

“However, while the majority of start-ups are driven by opportunity, there is an element of necessity.

“That can point to an element of age discrimination, as people in this age group struggle to get into the job market and are forced into launching their own businesses to get back to work.”