Businesses Started by 50-Somethings Survive Longer

One of the trends we spotted a few years ago and started writing about is that of the older entrepreneur (read our essay, the Graying of Small Business).

This is a category of older first-time entrepreneur, who is usually someone I call a “refugee from the Corporate world.” These older entrepreneurs may be armed with severance packages or pension buyouts, or otherwise a little better off financially than a younger entrepreneur. They decide that rather than look for another job, they will try their hand at starting or perhaps buying a business.

What characterizes the older first-time entrepreneur is their business savvy and skill. Generally they have a higher level of business expertise than your average 20-something entrepreneur. Often these individuals have received million-dollar educations through their past experiences on the job working for large corporations.

The Sunday Times in an article today points out the advantages of being 50-something and becoming an entrepreneur for the first time. Among them: research by NatWest Bank suggesting that, in the U.K. at least, “businesses that are started up by people in their fifties have double the chance of surviving the first three-and-a-half years than those started by people in their twenties.”

Tags: Business; small business; entrepreneur; startup; trends


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

3 Reactions
  1. What should we gleen from the published comments; that access to capital is more controlling than a unique idea and/or a sustainable competitative advantage?

    If so, will the “blue-hairs” crowd-out the young thinkers with respect to access to capital resulting in a short-term boost at the expense of long-term macro-economic expansion?

  2. Hi Mr. O’Sullivan,

    Access to capital is one benefit older entrepreneurs have. But I think more important than that is the business experience.

    As we both know, starting a business is tough. It’s a long, hard slog to get something off the ground to the point where it has sustainable momentum. And I wish I’d known in my first venture what I know now.


  3. I so agree with both Mr. O’Sullivan and Anita that staring a business is very tough and the knowledge we have now certainly would have made getting started alot easier. Yes! Access to capital is one benefit older entrepreneurs do have.

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