Business

Over 50 and looking for a business mentor? The Small Business Administration and AARP can help

By Calvin W. Goings
SBA Regional Administrator

Are you over 50 and looking for your next career?  New research shows that one in four people age 44 to 70 are interested in starting their own business or nonprofit in the next five to ten years.

Did you know that you are not alone? There are 76 million people over the age of 50 in the United States. That's why this April the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and AARP are teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month.

Together we will provide events to help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors, such as those from SBA's network of Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, and SCORE chapters who can help with strategies to grow an entrepreneur's business.

We know this kind of training can be critical for the success of a small business.  It can help folks bring their experience, knowledge and skills to a new venture, which creates exciting new opportunities and jobs.

Small business ownership is a good option for many baby boomers.15 percent of workers 45-74 are self-employed. Additionally, 13 percent of those who are current wage and salary workers say they plan to start a business once they retire.

Throughout April, SBA district offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners will host events around the country. Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors with small business experience and entrepreneurs to share information during one-on-one counseling sessions, and workshops for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners. To find a local event near you go to www.sba.gov/mentormonth.

And, SBA has free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. Go online to www.sba.gov/encore to access the online training and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50.

There's no better time to start a business than today. For Americans, especially those over 50, why not make April the start of the next chapter of your career?

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