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Meet Local Encore Entrepreneurs who Turned Silver into Gold through Small Business Ownership SBA and ARRP offer Free Workshop on April 29

Release Date: 
Monday, April 14, 2014
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Advisory Number: 
Janet Heyl

PITTSBURGH – John Tubridy, Bert Schwartz and Stephen Cohen are members of a growing national statistic – and each couldn’t be happier.

The trio, opened the doors to small business ownership after age 50 becoming “Encore Entrepreneurs.” This is a trend on the upswing. According to recent data from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, individuals 55-64 represent the highest rate of entrepreneurship in today’s economy

The U.S. Small Business Administration [SBA] and the American Association of Retired Persons [AARP] are joining forces to present an entrepreneurial workshop at the Carnegie Library Squirrel Hill branch, April 29 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tubridy, Schwartz, Cohen and Kerrie Valauri, project director, AARP Foundation will take part in an interactive forum focusing on entrepreneurship, a work search assessment, franchising opportunities and free technical assistance.

Tubridy, who previously worked at an insurance company and an international career transition company, opted for small business ownership 10 years ago, when he found himself facing his 50th birthday and yet another round of corporate reorganization and relocation. During his tenure, he noticed his contemporaries leaving and starting their own business and leading a more fulfilling life.

When FranNet, franchising consulting firm pairing entrepreneurs with franchise options, had a territory open in Western Pennsylvania, Tubridy bought into a franchise becoming a small business owner. For more than a decade, he’s carried out FranNet’s mission and has placed more than 100 individuals into business ownership.

Schwartz, a once-successful manufacturer of ladies’ ready-to-wear better clothing, shuttered his plant due to increased outsourcing within the garment industry. He floated resumes, but believed his age presented a barrier to potential employers.  

Today, the 61-year-old entrepreneur also is a franchisee focusing on the growing in-home care industry for the area’s senior population. “I wanted to feel productive and good about myself while making an income and a difference,” Schwartz explained. “My company, Home Helpers, strives to let our seniors age in their own home while maintaining dignity.”

Schwartz added his own health concerns coupled with caring for elderly parents became the catalyst for him swapping fabric bolts for a family assistance business.

“I felt led to it. It’s very rewarding helping people while making a living and I feel good at the end of each day.”

Cohen, a Pittsburgh SCORE Chapter member who also transitioned from the corporate world into small business ownership, will discuss the abundance of free technical assistance available to area entrepreneurs.

According to Western Pennsylvania SBA Deputy District Director Kevin White, the desire to become an entrepreneur knows no age limit. “Part of this workshop will help you determine if small business ownership, complete with its rewards, dedication and hard work is right for you,” he explained. “We, at the SBA, AARP and SCORE (America’s Counselors to Small Business), can help point you in the right direction and you just may find yourself ordering an ‘open for business’ sign.”


Note:  If you would like to speak with John Tubridy, Bert Schwartz or Kevin White, Western Pennsylvania SBA deputy district director, please contact Janet Heyl at 412-395-6560, ext. 103. 

The free Encore Entrepreneur Event will be held on April 29 from 10:30 to 11:300 a.m. at the Carnegie Library Squirrel Hill Branch, 5801 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA  15217.

The U.S. Small Business Administration – helping small businesses start, grow and succeed.


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