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Not Just For Kids: Workshops Offer Advice For Older Entrepreneurs

PHOTO: Those who attend one of the upcoming Encore Entrepreneur workshops will have the chance to hear from Michiganders who have successfully started businesses later in life, such as Lynda Herkner, shown here. Herkner and her sisters, all in their 60s and 70s, launched Herkner's Original Fruit Toppings based on a family recipe. Photo courtesy of Mark Hornbeck, AARP Michigan.
PHOTO: Those who attend one of the upcoming Encore Entrepreneur workshops will have the chance to hear from Michiganders who have successfully started businesses later in life, such as Lynda Herkner, shown here. Herkner and her sisters, all in their 60s and 70s, launched Herkner's Original Fruit Toppings based on a family recipe. Photo courtesy of Mark Hornbeck, AARP Michigan.
March 18, 2015

LANSING, Mich. - If you've ever considered starting your own business but thought it was too late in life to follow that dream, AARP and the Small Business Administration want you to think again.

Through the Encore Entrepreneurs program, the two organizations are teaming up to host a series of free workshops aimed at supporting and encouraging the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation: people over age 50. Jennifer Feuerstein, associate state director of AARP Michigan, said this particular demographic has a wealth of experience and skills that can translate well to starting a business.

"They want to share their expertise in a new way, fill a need that's not being met in the community, or are tired of working for others in unfulfilling work," she said, "and so they want to have the power to do new things and stay relevant in their careers."

The workshops, which are open to everyone, will take place in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Lansing in April. More information is online at AARP.org/MI.

While research has shown that older entrepreneurs often are willing to take more risks, Feuerstein said it's still critical to do as much research as possible before starting any business venture.

"The best thing that people can do is connect with the experts," she said, "because you don't know what you don't know, and the experts can help you stay on the right path and get your questions answered."

In addition to experts from the Small Business Administration, she said, the workshops offer the chance to connect and network with other older Michiganders who have successfully started their own businesses.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI