Monday, June 29, 2009

The Boomer as Entrepreneur

If you happen to be a boomer (or even if you are not), take a look at the following study from the Kaufman Foundation called “The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom.”

Per a press release from the Kaufman Foundation:

According to Robert E. Litan, VP of Research and Policy at the Kaufman Foundation: “The fact that the largest age group of our population is also the most entrepreneurial bodes well for the United States' economic future. This study shows how several other emerging trends, from job tenure to regulatory changes due to the current recession, should facilitate entrepreneurship in coming years." Contrary to popularly held assumptions, it turns out that over the past decade or so, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group. The 20-34 age bracket, meanwhile, which is usually identified with swashbuckling and risk-taking youth (think Facebook and Google), has the lowest. Perhaps most surprising, this disparity occurred in the 11 years around the dot-com boom—when the young entrepreneurial upstart became a cultural icon.

Other key findings include:

While people under 30 have historically jumped from job to job, the most striking development today has been the deep drop in the incidence of "lifetime" jobs among men over age 50. Long-term employment has fallen dramatically for people ages 35-64 over the past 50 years.
With longer life expectancies and greater health in later life, older generations may continue to start new firms—or mentor young entrepreneurs. Since the first Internet-era recession, transaction costs and barriers to entry have fallen for entrepreneurs of every age.

I think one other point is worth mentioning. Some boomers who are entrepreneurs, are now ready and willing to sell their existing businesses. These boomers also know that to sell their business in these uncertain and tight credit times, means that they will have to also finance the sale of their business, which opens up a tremendous opportunity for the younger generations. So this may also be a good time to look at your local boomers and see if you can buy a business from them. Remember the entrepreneur’s mantra: everything is for sale.

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