‘Seniorpreneurs’ on the rise

The popular image of the successful entrepreneur might be the flip-flop wearing millennial plugging away at his laptop in Silicon Valley—but times have changed, and the so-called “seniorpreneur” is on the rise.

More and more seniors in Canada are starting their own businesses. A 2012 report by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce found that the fastest growing segment of the start-up market is those 50 and older, with senior entrepreneurs representing 30 per cent of all start-ups. Furthermore, the report found that there was more than double the amount of seniorpreneurs in 2012 than there was in the 1990s.

And as the population of seniors is projected to grow between 50 and 80 per cent in the next 50 years, according to Statistics Canada, the number of older start-up owners will only continue to rise.

More and more seniors are starting their own businesses.

New endeavors 
Creating their own business is appealing to many seniors for a variety of reasons. According to a survey by TD Bank, the top motivators are being their own boss, having the chance to make more money, and experience a feeling of personal achievement or pride, The Globe and Mail reported.

Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to pursue new or long-neglected passions, with the survey finding that 67 per cent of seniorpreneurs were planning to create start-ups in areas that were unrelated to their previous or current career, the source notes.

Seniorpreneurs are particularly well-suited to opening their own businesses because of the lessons they’ve already learned in their personal and professional lives, giving them a robust wealth of experiences to draw from. The Small Business Accelerator Program at the University of British Columbia notes that “most [senior entrepreneurs] have had plenty of time to hone their expertise in their field and in the realm of management in general,” and cited a TD Bank finding that 75 per cent of seniorpreneurs had a decade or more years of experience in company leadership.

Supporting seniorpreneurs 
Recognizing this trend, many Canadian organizations are implementing programs that support seniorpreneurs. For example, Startup Canada gives out the Senior Entrepreneur of the Year Award to entrepreneurs over 60 who “have impacted Canadian entrepreneurship through exemplary activities and leadership of their startup companies,” according to its website.

The 2015 recipient of the award was Tom Fath, president of The Fath Group. He was recognized for being one of the leading angel investors in the technology sector of Edmonton for nearly a decade.