Business

Business assistance now available for 50-plus entrepreneurs

The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are launching a strategic alliance to provide counseling and training to entrepreneurs over the age of 50 who want to start or grow a small business. Through SBA’s online training courses and its nationwide network of business mentors and counselors, the two organizations expect to train 100,000 “encore entrepreneurs,” men and women 50 or older who are starting or running a small business.

“No matter what your age, if you have an idea or a business that’s ready to move to the next level, the SBA wants to make sure you have access to the tools you need to start and grow,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “We know that working side-by-side with AARP, we will be able to reach baby boomers and Americans over the age of 50 who have years of professional experience working for others and are ideally positioned to step out and become their own boss. And, in doing so, they will become job creators and drivers of economic growth in their communities.”

SBA has set up a dedicated web page featuring an online self-assessment tool that will help potential small-business owners understand their readiness for starting a business as well as information to help with business planning, shaping a winning business idea, professional counseling, financial services and information to find local resources in the area. This web page is found at: http://www.sba.gov/content/50-entrepreneurs.

SBA and AARP also will jointly develop and host a customized online course, self-assessment, and webinar series for older entrepreneurs.  SBA already offers a suite of online courses for people who want to start and grow their business. To take a course, go to http://www.sba.gov/training under “online courses.”  Course topics include start-up basics, finance strategies, marketing tactics, overseas trade, and more.

For more than 70 million Americans over 50, business ownership is a practical option.  It can be a second career or a chance to leverage life experiences into an interesting and financially practical “encore” career.

“Many baby boomers are working beyond retirement age and choosing to stay active and engaged in the workforce,” Mills said.  “For many older entrepreneurs, starting a small business can be an opportunity to transform a lifetime hobby or interest or years of professional experience into a lucrative line of work.”

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