The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP teamed up on Oct 2, 2012 to improve the chances for success of “encore entrepreneurs,” or entrepreneurs over the age of 50, by matching them with successful business owners from SBA’s vast resource partner network.
SBA Colorado District Office and AARP Colorado hosted the National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day on Oct 2, 2012 at the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center. More than 40 people were in attendance to listen to small business owner Gary Rasmussen discuss starting his Assisted Transition franchise at the age of 60. Assisted Transition helps seniors locate nursing homes in Colorado. He spoke at length about the trials of starting a new business and answered questions from the audience. This event was one of 60 events around the county. These events included speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information for five-minute sessions, and mentor lunches for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners. During the event, Encore entrepreneurs could also meet with professional business counselor to learn more about SBA’s training, counseling and mentoring support.
“Many new entrepreneurs are saving their best acts for their encore performance,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “They’re using their decades of expertise and their connections to start new businesses and to finally pursue that venture that has been stirring their dreams for all these years. National Encore Entrepreneurship Mentor Day will link hundreds of entrepreneurs with experienced business owners who can help transform these dreams into a reality.”
National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day is part of a larger effort by SBA and AARP to counsel more than 100,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 50. The events will help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors such as those from SBA’s network of Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE chapters who can help throughout the life of an entrepreneur’s business.
“AARP is pleased to be working with SBA on this important initiative to help older Americans get practical information and guidance on starting and growing small businesses,” said Jean Setzfand, AARP Vice President, Financial Security. “Our work with SBA is part of AARP’s “Work Reimagined” program to help middle class Americans reach their ‘what next’ moments in work and career.”
One in four individuals ages 44 to 70 is interested in becoming an entrepreneur and 63 percent of Americans plan to work during retirement. Small business ownership is a good option for these encore entrepreneurs. Small business owners with long-term counselors see bigger sales, hire more workers and have more longevity. SBA and AARP will provide the training and mentoring services older entrepreneurs need to successfully start and grow businesses and create jobs.
SBA developed a 50+ toolkit that includes free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. The training courses include profiles of successful entrepreneurs, recommended action steps, and information on licensing and financing. Go online to www.sba.gov/encore for the toolkit and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50.