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Jumpstart Your Entrepreneurial Dream with the SBA and AARP

Advisory Date: 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Advisory Number: 
Michael Ashcraft

By Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Entrepreneurs over the age of 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of new business owners. For age 50+ individuals, entrepreneurship offers an opportunity to use your knowledge and experience that you have gained during your life experiences to create a new business that can be rewarding in many ways. 

This is an exciting entrepreneurial time for people age 50+, especially considering that there are 76 million people over the age of 50 in the U.S. For the new Encore Mentoring initiative, SBA district offices and AARP state offices nationwide are offering events specifically designed to help encore entrepreneurs age 50 and older who want to start or grow a small business. The Encore Mentoring builds on the successful Mentor Day in 2012 which grew into successful Mentor Months in 2013 and 2014. Encore Mentoring events are scheduled for summer through fall of 2015, with additional encore events are offered throughout the year. With a special focus on entrepreneurs over the age of 50, we are matching “encore entrepreneurs” with successful business mentors and business experts for advice and assistance.

We know this kind of coaching can be critical for the success of a small business, helping folks bring their experience, knowledge and skills to a new venture. This creates exciting new opportunities, jobs and wealth.

Americans age 50+ who are working or looking for work has grown significantly over the past decade and is expected to continue increasing. In fact, 35% of the U.S. labor force participants will be age 50+ in 2022. This compares to just 25% in 2002. Small business ownership is a good option for many baby boomers, and business owners who get long-term mentoring may see increased sales and hire more workers.

Over the next few months, SBA district offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners will host events around the country. Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors with small business experience and entrepreneurs to share information during one-on-one counseling sessions, small business webinars, and workshops for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners.  The Kentucky District Office had three Encore Entrepreneur events earlier this year and will offer three this summer and fall. To find details, go to and look under the Find Events and Workshops in Your Area section on the home page.

SBA also has free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. Go online to to access online training and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50 or to see a list of these events all across the country.

The SBA will soon host a national webinar series to help current and potential encore entrepreneurs. For more information, and to register, visit

There is no better time to start a business than today. For Americans, especially those over 50, make this your time to start the next chapter of your career.