Senior entrepreneurs

Senior entrepreneurs

Seniors are increasingly interested in becoming entrepreneurs and retired business people can provide precious knowledge and skills for budding entrepreneurs. The European Commission is exploring how to benefit from the knowledge and skills of seniors, and how to ensure that they are able to go into business for themselves.

Challenges faced by seniors

Many seniors wish to stay active and explore new opportunities. Those wanting to start a business for the first time should benefit from the full range of support services. Those who already have a successful business experience may also enjoy sharing their expertise with others. They face certain challenges however. For instance:

  • they might not be reached through the traditional marketing of business support services;
  • they might not be aware of business support organisations and those organisations may not realise their entrepreneurial potential;
  • they might not be seen as valuable mentors to other entrepreneurs.

The European Commission’s actions to support senior entrepreneurs:

To help support seniors who want to become entrepreneurs or to mentor others, the European Commission will be organising exchanges of best practices in 2015. These programmes will offer EU countries and administrations at all levels more information about available schemes with the aim of increasing participation.

Successful programmes promoting senior entrepreneurship

Ireland and France are two countries offering entrepreneurial and mentoring opportunities to seniors. The 'Senior Enterprise' programme in Ireland and the 'Maillages' programme in France are encouraging motivated seniors to serve as voluntary mentors, potential buyers or investors in businesses, and as temporary managers to assist vulnerable start-ups and businesses in transition.