The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP have teamed up in an effort to improve the chances for success of "encore entrepreneurs," or entrepreneurs over the age of 50, by matching them with successful business owners and community leaders, professional business coaches, and mentors from SBA's large resource partner network.
SBA and AARP earlier this month hosted the first National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day with more than 60 events around the country. Events included speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information for five-minute sessions, and mentor lunches for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners. Encore entrepreneurs also can meet a professional business counselor to learn more about SBA's training, counseling, and mentoring support.
"Many new entrepreneurs are saving their best acts for their encore performance," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said on the day of the events. "They're using their decades of expertise and their connections to start new businesses and to finally pursue that venture that has been stirring their dreams for all these years. National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day will link hundreds of entrepreneurs with experienced business owners who can help transform these dreams into a reality."
National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day is part of a larger effort by SBA and AARP to counsel more than 100,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 50. The effort is intended 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 throughout the life of an entrepreneur's business.
"AARP is pleased to be working with SBA on this important initiative to help older Americans get practical information and guidance on starting and growing small businesses," says Jean Setzfand, AARP vice President Financial Security. "Our work with SBA is part of AARP's 'Work Reimagined' program to help middle class Americans reach their 'what next' moments in work and career."
One in four individuals ages 44 to 70 is interested in becoming an entrepreneur, the groups estimate, and 63 percent of Americans plan to work during retirement, they say.
Small business ownership is a good option for these encore entrepreneurs, and small business owners with long-term counselors see bigger sales, hire more workers, and have more longevity, they say.
SBA and AARP say they will provide training and mentoring services for older entrepreneurs.
SBA developed a 50-plus toolkit. Go online to www.sba.gov/encore for the toolkit and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50.
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