Mumpreneurs, olderpreneurs and the changing face of enterprise

Entrepreneurship is moving away from a one-size-fits-all demographic, with more women and over 50s starting up. Start Up Loans’ Yasmina Siadatan looks at the shift

Entrepreneurs, just like successful businesses, are known to adapt and innovate in order to survive. That’s why it’s no surprise that the profile of an entrepreneur has changed significantly over the years, and certainly the same can be said for the profile of people taking out Start Up Loans.

From the penetration of the tech industry on influencing start ups, to more experienced and older entrepreneur and mumpreneurs, today’s start-ups are quite different to the Mark Zuckerbergs of 10 years ago.

Lifting the age cap

Since David Cameron lifted the age cap in the Autumn of 2013, to introduce Start Up Loans to entrepreneurs of all ages, there has been an influx of interest and a flurry of passion from individuals over the age of 30.

Already 8% of our 13,500 businesses have been started by those over the age of 50. This is partly because there is no longer a horizontal understanding of a career path, and partly because of the enormous amount of support available for start-ups today. Now, what is understood as being an entrepreneur is more of a spectrum than a single ideal.

People who have worked in an office for 15 years are taking the plunge and starting their own venture through the help of access to finance schemes that were just not available before. People looking to explore their creativity and capitalise on it are looking at ways to become their own boss.

26% of Start Up Loans recipients were previously employed full time showing just how many people are indeed taking that leap. Mothers unsure of whether or not to return to work are seriously considering self-employment as a better alternative.

In fact, entrepreneurship is moving away from the one-size-fits-all understanding, and adapting to suit the needs of the ambitious and independent individual, particularly, an older individual.

Previously, age has been seen to be a limiting factor when discussing starting up, because entrepreneurship was not seen as something you could grow into, rather something you were born with.

Anyone can become an entrepreneur

However, with age comes experience, and with a tougher economic environment and lower levels of disposable income among today’s population, experience can be invaluable, and the difference between start-up success and failure. We see this time and time again. With the right support and guidance anyone can become an entrepreneur.

To illustrate this point, we need look no further than the world’s favourite fast food joint, McDonalds. The burger chain was started by a salesman, who was selling his milkshake mixer to two brothers with a small restaurant in California. And as they say, the rest is history.

52 year old Ray Kroc persuaded the brothers to let him buy their franchise, and eventually bought the business off them in 1961, frustrated by their reluctance to expand the chain, for a cool $2.7m. Because of his vision and his experience with business, Kroc created one of the most impressive chains and really kicked-off the fast food culture that was to reverberate across the globe.

The new demographic of an entrepreneur is certainly more malleable and adjustable than ever before. With Start Up Loans, peer to peer lending, and independent angel investors, the options available for start-ups lend themselves to inspiring more people to become their own boss.

Today more than ever, age is not a factor for quantifying future business success. Indeed, being younger has its benefits. For one, having time on your side, and the resistance to being knocked down by failure, with a more confident outlook youth brings with it.

On the other hand, being older means you have more know-how and a measured approach on the whole, with a wide network to take advantage of that often being younger cannot compete with.

But no matter your age, there is no substitute for a brilliant idea. People invest in people, and although businesses can be boosted by the interpersonal skills of the CEO, no business will really lift-off if the idea isn’t worth backing. Passion, determination, hard work and a great concept; these are the things we should invest in. After all, age is just a number.

Yasmina Siadatan is the creative director of Start Up Loans, a restaurateur, and the winner ofThe Apprentice in 2009. Apply for a loan here

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