Seniorpreneurs Are on the Rise

Older Canadians are leading the way as small-business owners

By Jennifer Hughes

Since we’re now living longer than ever before, retiring at 65 is no longer a given. More and more Canadians are remaining in the workforce past 65 to ensure that they have enough savings when they eventually retire. The effect of low interest rates on one’s ability to save plus mortgage and credit card debt are other reasons seniors continue to work beyond 65. Many simply don’t want to stop working, however, and many of who have retired are re-entering the job market as entrepreneurs, giving rise to the term “seniorpreneurs.”

According to a recent RBC Small Business Poll, baby boomers are leading the way as entrepreneurs. Almost half of small-business owners (42%) are 65 or older, while only 24% are Millennials. Boomers are also more likely than other Canadians to have followed through on the idea of starting their own business.

In Oshawa, ON, Seniorpreneur Program 4 Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (SPICE) is a pilot project created to see whether seniors over the age of 55 were interested in continuing to work and becoming their own bosses. The initiative drew 75 applications for the 60 available spaces in its first set of boot camps. SPICE offers various free activities to help seniors start their own businesses, including a four-day boot camp that offers hands-on experience, coaching and peer mentorship, and events designed to encourage boomers’ entrepreneurial spirit.

One of the main reasons the project was created was ageism in the workplace, SPICE program creator Pramilla Ramdahan told CBC News, adding that nearly all of the participants in the pilot boot camps said that they’d experienced ageism.

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Photo: iStock/izusek.