‘Third age entrepreneurs’ account for 15% of all start-up ventures in the UK – that’s an estimated 60,000 new business from the over fifties.
This is double the number of new ventures started a decade ago and a generates revenue in the region of £4.2bn per annum.
In addition, the study found middle-aged entrepreneurs work harder and longer house than previous generations, with some working 36 hours weeks.
And the numbers are set to grow as Britain’s population continues to age. By 2025, more than a third of the UK population will be over 55 – compared with one-in-four today.
The news is certain to please the government which has pledged to make Britain the best place in the world to do business, despite recessionary fears.p>Furthermore, advances in healthcare have changed attitudes with regard to growing old. Only 27% run the business as the only source of income to the household, with 51% supplementing a pension.
Mike Rogers, managing director of small business and start-ups at Barclays, said there was a ‘demographic shift as people who previously thought their working lives were over chose to re-enter the work place as their own boss’.
He added: ‘Their experience and knowledge will be a valuable driver for the enterprise economy.’
This, he said, had important consequences for organisations that supported enterprise in the UK: ‘Banks, government and business support organisations need to be acutely aware of their differing needs and the growing importance of this group to the economy.’
In addition, third age entrepreneurs rated finding a balance between work and home life, taking holidays and lack of stress more highly than their young counterparts.
Baroness Greengross, a parliamentary spokesperson on issues concerning older people, said the future of the future did not necessarily ‘just lie with the dotcoms run by the 20-something year olds’.
‘New businesses run by the over fifties are growing both in number and in their economic impact.’
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