Small Business Administration, AARP can help business owners older than 50

Special to the GatewayApril 16, 2014 

Are you older than 50 and looking for your next career? New research shows that one in four people ages 44 to 70 are interested in starting their own business or nonprofit in the next five to 10 years.

Did you know you aren’t alone? There are 76 million people older than 50 in the United States. That’s why the U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are teaming up in April to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month.

Together we will provide events to 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 with strategies to grow an entrepreneur’s business.

We know that kind of training can be critical for the success of a small business. It can help folks bring their experience, knowledge and skills to a new venture, and that can create exciting new opportunities and jobs.

Small business ownership is a good option for many baby boomers. Fifteen percent of workers 45-74 are self-employed. Additionally, 13 percent of those who are current wage and salary workers say they plan to start a business once they retire.

Throughout the month, 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, and workshops for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners.

To find an event near you, visit www.sba.gov/mentormonth.

And, SBA has free online courses targeted to help encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. Go to www.sba.gov/encore to access the training and other resources available for entrepreneurs older than 50.

There’s no better time to start a business than today. For Americans, especially those 50 and older, why not make April the start of the next chapter of your career?

Calvin W. Goings is the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He can be reached at 206-553-5231.

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