Supporting mature age entrepreneurs

Research led by Professor Alex Maritz has found that entrepreneurship among people aged 45 years and older is on the rise in Australia

Mature age entrepreneurs contribute over $12 billion per annum to the Australian economy in over 380,000 businesses. They launch around 14,000 new businesses each year.

“During COVID-19, we’ve seen an even greater number of mature age people stepping away from nine-to-five jobs and starting their own small businesses,” says Maritz. “Some are joining the gig economy as individual contractors. Others are experiencing the benefits and satisfaction of self-employment, often employing staff in their start-ups.”

While they are redefining what it means to age in Australia, senior entrepreneurs do not currently have access to a dedicated body of resources, support networks or targeted initiatives to help them navigate the challenges of the sector.

Maritz is working to change that.

Partnering with War on Wasted Talent, Maritz and his team have developed resources, workshops and webinars specifically aimed at mature age entrepreneurs. Participants are provided with business model generation tools and given the opportunities to network.

“Senior entrepreneurs often possess greater expertise and experience than their younger counterparts, and are more focused on high-growth and high-value activities,” he explains. “Overall, our research shows they are more capable and efficient in their start-ups, and more successful in self-employment initiatives.”

Mature age entrepreneurs have lower levels of entrepreneurial intentions, are more likely to self-finance, and suffer less from fear of failure. Risk tolerance does decrease with age, highlighting importance of dedicated initiatives for this cohort.

“The resources and initiatives required to support mature age entrepreneurs need to speak to their life experiences,” says Maritz. “We have found, for example, that connecting new senior entrepreneurs with mentors and those who have been successful in startups is critical.”

The team’s resources can be found on websites like War on Wasted Talent or Launch Victoria. But Maritz has his sights set on developing a dedicated resource base, or one-stop-shop, for mature age entrepreneurs.

“Our aim to develop frameworks and toolkits to enhance senior entrepreneurship activity and increase awareness of senior entrepreneurship as a career option for mature age people,” he says.

“We have identified senior entrepreneurship as the fastest growing sector of entrepreneurship in Australia and abroad. It’s important that we set this group up for success.”

Find out more:

Senior Entrepreneurship and self-employment for mature aged individuals: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1038416220978971

Mature aged entrepreneurship webinar: https://www.cotansw.com.au/publication/webinar-seniorpreneurs/
https://theconversation.com/contrary-to-popular-belief-middle-aged-entrepreneurs-do-better-159906