Empowering Older Adults in the World of Entrepreneurship 

Did you know that the average retirement age in the United States is 64? It’s around this time in life that many individuals punch the time clock for the last time, pack their bags and take that long-awaited trip to the Florida coast to enjoy its retirement-friendly beaches. Some may even move their lives across the country and plant themselves in The Villages, a well-known Floridian haven for the 55+ community. 

But after the excitement of retirement fades, many older adults seek something more fulfilling. Beyond endless rounds of pickleball and sudoku, why not encourage them to explore their passions, potentially leading to financial success as well? 

With these tips, you can empower a senior in your life who needs something more by inspiring them to dive into the exciting world of entrepreneurship. 

#1 Conduct Education and Training 

Organize entrepreneurship programs designed with older adults in mind. You could host trainings at retirement homes, libraries, public parks and other community gathering locations. Each training could cover an essential topic in entrepreneurship, such as: 

  • Basic business skills 
  • Financial management 
  • Marketing 
  • Business planning 

#2 Organize a Mentorship Program 

Older adults interested in starting their own small business can connect with successful mentors and business owners who are eager to provide guidance, share past experiences and offer valuable insights. If enough business owners volunteer to be part of the program, you may even be able to pair seniors with mentors who conduct businesses in industries aligned with their passions, whether it’s arts and crafts or bookkeeping. 

#3 Provide Access to Financial Resources 

Whether you’re 30 or 60, it can be challenging to understand the financial aspects involved in getting a business up and running. You can simplify the process for older adults by offering insights into the various financial outlets available to them, including: 

  • Funding opportunities 
  • Grants 
  • Low-interest loans tailored to older entrepreneurs 

#4 Technology Training 

For many older adults, staying current with technological changes can feel overwhelming. However, access to well-tailored apps and online platforms can help make starting and managing a business a breeze. From the basics, like how to send emails and use Microsoft Office, to more advanced topics, like utilizing online marketing and creating an online storefront, it’s helpful to bridge the gap between older adults and technology so that they, too, can reap the benefits it can give. 

#5 Help Perform Market Research and Targeting 

Market research may sound intimidating to those who’ve never used it before. However, a little data collection and analysis can help older entrepreneurs identify their customers’ needs, understand their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and tailor their product offerings to their target audience. 

To get entrepreneurial seniors on the right track with market research, you can assist with the following: 

  • Identifying their business goals. 
  • Offering workshops on the fundamentals of market research. 
  • Providing access to easy-to-use research tools. 

#6 Advocate for Supportive Business Regulations 

One way to aid older adults in their business ventures is by supporting policies and regulations that aim to help older entrepreneurs. This may involve exploring ideas like increased tax incentives or streamlining bureaucratic processes. To initiate these efforts, you can speak with your city’s chamber of commerce, local government representatives or even state legislators to help simplify the process for older adults interested in starting a business. 

#7 Inspire Aspiring Entrepreneurs 

What better way to inspire older adults who are interested in starting a business than by highlighting the success stories of other entrepreneurs who began similar journeys later in life? Not only do these stories challenge some of the common stereotypes about the difficulties older adults face when starting a business, they might also act as the final motivational push needed to convince someone that they can accomplish their dreams. 

#8 Create Peer Support Groups 

When it comes to starting a business, older entrepreneurs have unique advantages and challenges that their younger counterparts may not fully understand. Peer support groups tailored specifically for older entrepreneurs offer a platform where like-minded individuals can provide and receive emotional support, network with one another and share the valuable insights and best practices they’ve learned along the way. 

#9 Lifelong Learning 

Let’s strike through the saying, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ With tenacity and perseverance, anyone can learn new concepts at any age, whether they’re 10 or 110. It’s important to demonstrate to older adults that it’s never too late to master new skills in life, especially when it revolves around something they’re passionate about. 

Empower Yourself With a Graduate Credential From the University of Florida 

Encouraging older adults to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams can be not only monetarily beneficial but may also improve their overall quality of life—and you can be a part of that monumental change. 

Whether you pursue a career as a public policy director or an intergenerational program coordinator, UF proudly provides two unique online graduate degree programs in aging that can help you achieve your career goals: 

If you’d rather test the waters before committing to a graduate degree program, we also offer a Graduate Certificate in Aging and Geriatric Practice. This 15-credit online program provides the foundational knowledge that geriatric medicine students need to advance their careers in the field of aging. What’s more, if you decide to pursue a master’s degree, you may be eligible to apply those credits toward either graduate degree program mentioned above. 

Time waits for no man. Ask any older adult, and they’ll probably agree. Forge a path toward the career you’ve always dreamed of and apply today!