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Help for Connecticut's Older Entrepreneurs

AARP Connecticut says 17 percent of its members ages 50 to 59 are interested in starting a business. (TheDigitel Beaufort/Wikimedia Commons)
AARP Connecticut says 17 percent of its members ages 50 to 59 are interested in starting a business. (TheDigitel Beaufort/Wikimedia Commons)
August 8, 2016

NORWALK, Conn. – Growing numbers of older adults are deciding to start their own business, and now there's help to get them going.

Nationwide, more than 5 million people 55 and older run their own business. In Connecticut, AARP has teamed up with the Small Business Administration to host interactive seminars on how to get started.

Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut state director, says the events, dubbed Encore Entrepreneurs, are open to anyone, but have a special focus on people ages 50 and older.

"We give people access to the experts that they need to get the right amount of information to go ahead and make the smart choices that will make them successful entrepreneurs," Duncan explains.

The next Encore Entrepreneur event is coming up on August 24 in Norwalk. Information is on the AARP website at AARP.org/CT.

Some older workers were downsized during the recession. Others want to turn a lifelong passion into a career.

AARP surveyed its members in Connecticut, ages 50 to 59 and, according to Duncan, significant numbers are thinking of starting something new.

"Seventeen percent are 'extremely interested' or 'very interested' in starting their own business,” she relates. “And 7 percent have gone ahead and done just that in the last few years."

And Duncan notes that older entrepreneurs tend to have a higher success rate than younger workers at starting new businesses.

Seniors who have saved and built up good credit ratings can also have an easier time getting the money they need to start a new business. But Duncan cautions against dipping into retirement savings.

"If you have 30 more years to live, you don't want to spend on something that is a risk, that may leave you in a very bad situation when you're 90 and really need funds that you saved your whole life," she cautions.

AARP says its Encore Entrepreneur events can help people find vital resources and avoid some of the pitfalls of starting a new business.



Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT