Starting an innovative business is still fine if you are over 60

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The current life expectancy of people in the EU fluctuates around eighty. It is therefore quite logical that after your 60th birthday you still have enough time to set up your own business. In the Netherlands, the Chamber of Commerce annually registers about nine thousand new entrepreneurs older than sixty. Innovation Origins spoke to some of these gray innovative starters and asked them about their motivation for starting a new adventure at their age. In the coming week we will be portraying them in one special senior edition of the series Dagens Opstart.

Sixty are the new forty. At that age, you used to prepare for retirement in retirement. Companies even offered training courses for employees in that age group. And thanks to the early retirement schemes, after a working life for people over sixty, most of the geraniums remained. Now, however, the gray wolves are no longer imprisoned in the golden cage of pre-retirement, but are establishing new businesses.

Research also shows that people over 50 who start their own business are two to three times more successful than people in their thirties. Entrepreneur over the 60s is now a worldwide phenomenon. In the United States, people between the ages of 55 and 64 make up the largest proportion of entrepreneurs. In Japan, people over 60 now make up more than a third of the new entrepreneurs. In the UK, ‘older’ entrepreneurs account for more than a quarter of start-ups, according to figures from the international research firm

Many start-up entrepreneurs start their own business. Of the approximately 9,000 new registrations with the Chamber of Commerce, approximately 8,000 concerned sole proprietorships. Most people over 60 start a business in the business services sector. These are primarily consulting companies. The healthcare sector comes in second place, followed by retail and construction.

If you go into business, you have at least one goal back, and that keeps you vital

Han van Doorn (84), entrepreneur

The prevailing view is that people are either “forced” into entrepreneurship by dismissal, old age or forced retirement, or “pulled” by the prospect of business opportunities, potential profitability, greater freedom and flexibility, according to a study published in Massey University in New Zealand. In that study, many older entrepreneurs mentioned personal well-being and altruism as motivation.

According to the researchers, the trend towards entrepreneurship among seniors has both social and economic benefits. On the one hand, meaningful and well-tailored work promotes personal well-being. On the other hand, it gives individuals a sense of self-worth, fulfillment and promotes sociability.

Because take Han van Doorn. He is 84 years old and together with his son developed the app Areyouokaytoday, which notifies you if something happens to you as a single person in the house.

He finds entrepreneurship ‘fantastic’. It has given his life direction again. “If you go into business, you have at least one goal again, and that keeps you vital,” he says. “You have to see it as a party where you do not know anyone. When you start talking to someone, you will quickly be asked what you are doing. Now I have something to say again. “

A big difference with young starters is that in many cases seniors are often only partially or not at all dependent on income from their business. In addition to that income, they are already benefiting from an early retirement scheme or have their own funds in reserve.

Business credit

They therefore do not go directly to a bank to finance their business. However, Rabobank sees that the number of business accounts in the age groups over 56 and over 65 has actually increased in the last two years.

“We see no particular risks here. This age group has gained a lot of knowledge in working life. Not everyone wants to retire from working life after reaching retirement age. There is also a win-win situation in relation to the tight labor market. There are insurances that cater to the age of the entrepreneur. But this is very dependent on the situation, says spokesman Eric Lagerweij.

We judge over the 60s just like any other starter

Eric Lagerweij, Rabobank Nederland

According to the bank, it is no harder for people over 60 to get a business loan than for entrepreneurs under 60. “We evaluate them like any other starter. Rabobank has the knowledge platform This platform has been around for over 12 years. There are thousands of articles to read about how to start as an entrepreneur. So far, Rabobank has had no reason to differentiate. In our opinion, knowledge of what hourly rate to ask, when to file VAT returns, what legal form to choose, or how to draw up a business plan is no different for a 35-year-old than for a 67-year-old starter. “

However, more emphasis should be placed on older entrepreneurs, says Margreet Drijvers, director of Platform Independent Entrepreneurs (PZO). For example, the government’s Tozo measure did not apply to people over the age of 65 who already had AOW. “While these entrepreneurs also suffered from the effects of corona. At least we didn’t go down without explaining ourselves first. ”

According to Drijvers, this specific group of entrepreneurs is growing – albeit slowly – simply because of people’s longer life expectancy. However, she warns against a risk by seeking independence from paid employment at a later age. “It is quite expensive to pay for the last part of the pension build-up yourself. This may mean that a large part of that income is missing later on. You have to take that into account. ”

Silver starters

Despite this, free entrepreneurship also attracts later in life. Therefore, for the third time in February, Leyden Academy and the insurance company Aegon are organizing the free Silver Starters entrepreneurship course, which is specifically aimed at older start-up entrepreneurs. The program is implemented in four countries and co-financed by, among others, EIT Health, a European consortium that aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in healthy lifestyles and vital aging.

The last two times, about 100 people have attended the course. “The big advantage is that the participants are all between 50 and 60. You are with like-minded people. The course is online, but they receive intensive personal guidance, “says Yvonne Koemans from Leyden Academy. There is great diversity in the kind of businesses they want to start. But what strikes me is that there are a great many so-called social start-ups among them. For older beginners, it’s much more about making a difference than making money. ”

Also interesting: Family always close by for seniors with Femlys plug-and-play TV

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