Older Australians are the new entrepreneurs

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New research by the Swinburne University of Technology and Queensland University of Technology has revealed that Australians aged 55 to 64 are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country.

Named by industry as ‘Seniorpreneurs’, this group of entrepreneurs achieved an activity rate of 8 per cent, well above the 3 per cent average of innovation-driven economies. These figures are no surprise when you see that 34 per cent of all Australian business owners are aged 55 to 64.

From mid-2020, the Federal Government is rolling out career transition assistance programs for older Australians through groups that will offer specialised career advice and digital literacy training.

Australians of all ages with specialised skill-sets are finding it easier than ever to work as little or as much as they like by running their own businesses through open-market platforms such as Airtasker. Diz, a 37-year-old painter who joined Airtasker in 2015, is now the company’s top member, earning $170,000 a year working 40 hours a week (prior to factoring in Aistasker’s 15 per cent commission for each job).

“The vast majority of seniorpreneurs are people who have had changes to their current work situation, as a result of company restructure and are in that age where re-employment is difficult,” said Bambi Price, co-founder of Melbourne-based SeniorPreneurs Foundation.

With the Age Pension qualification age continuing to increase and age discrimination still a significant factor hurting Australians over 50 seeking re-employment, the seniorpreneur market is only expected to grow over the next decade.

What do you think? Do you have a unique trade or skill you can utilise in the lead up to retirement or post retirement? Have you started an entrepreneurial venture at 50-plus years of age? If so, why?

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 16
  1. 0

    My new retirement career is yourlifetalks.com. Raising community awareness of the importance of families having meaningful conversations about our life’s journey and end of life wishes. My Conversation Starter Cards are only 9 months old & are being sold in 5 countries and are currently being translated into 10 languages. Loving being an ‘older entrepreneur’.

  2. 0

    Yes indeed. Working for yourself on an organised internet platform makes more sense than the current 0 hour contracts employers want to sign people up for.

    It is easier now to take a good idea to market than ever before.

    • 0

      I started up my own CD label, Sidereal Records, and in 2016-2017 from my hospital bed(!) produced a double CD of music by one of my late teachers, Dr Ian Fredericks. It’s available from the Australian Music Centre for $40.00.

  3. 0

    Of course us seniors are entrepreneurial. Being made redundant in late 40’s, early 50’s and nobody hiring any “old” people makes us look for other ways to make a quid. Add to that all of the franchises that are available and older people with cash in hand can become their own boss. However, not all franchises are worthwhile as there are shonks that will have no compunction in signing you up for a disaster and take your money. Research and asking a lot of questions is essential. Some industries such as couriers have become successful franchise operations with a parent company providing the back-up and on-freight facilities. A case of each group essential to the other to maintain the success.

  4. 0

    55-64: I’m 55. The 55-64 group still have their marbles, and have the energy as well as the imagination to do productive things.

  5. 0

    Lots of seniors retiring with lots of dough and nothing to do, so starting businesses.
    Those whingers who complain their pensions are not enough should take a leaf out of these senioprenuers and get off their arses

    • 0

      Wouldn’t it be nice if the OAP was a set amount for everyone over 65 and it didn’t matter how much extra an individual worked to top up their income.
      At the moment, if a pensioner works more than a token amount to survive the government will cut the pension. Its the same with welfare. They don’t dare even start to work in case they lose the financial walking stick.

    • 0

      I agree Rosret, it should be based on yearly income not weekly, because if you are starting out you will do better some weeks than others but if you are not making enough by the end of the financial year you would not have the incentive to continue trying without a pension or welfare to pay the living expenses.

  6. 0

    It is wrong for the Govt to discourage Aged Pensioners to work 1 or 2 days a week by an absurd penalty cap on earnings that is simply out of date!
    The current restrictions ($200 a fortnight) are not an encouragement but a Penalty for having a go!
    One has to ask why?
    Nowadays you can earn that in one day on Casual Hire for 4hrs!
    What is the Point of it?
    They would pay 10% Gst on every cent they spent!
    More Tax!
    They wont save it They tend to Spend it so Small Business & Retail would get a boost!
    Think 1 Million spending $50 a week!
    That’s a $50 million boost to Small Business!
    Think 1 Million fixing something at home with Tradie at $200 to $300 a month!
    That is 2-300 Million a Month or $2400 to $3600
    Million each Year!
    And most Retired People are capable of working 1 day a week or 2 half days!
    Our Govt is wasting its Aged Resources ability because it Penalises instead of Rewarding and Encouraging!
    5 Million retired! soon to be 7Million!
    Above stats are for only 1 in 5 or 1 in 7!
    Admittedly 2 in 5 is a reach but just how many would have a go if they stopped Penalising?
    Being active has other Benefits…
    People stay healthier longer and stop being a drain on The Heath Care System!
    Perhaps some might just turn the AIr Con or Heater because they can afford to!
    Modern Govts still make 1980’s out of date rules that stifle people!

  7. 0

    60y.o. My daughter & I are starting a tutorial business. She is 1st year uni & wants to earn money for ‘the big trip OS’ and I have no intention of losing the physical or mental skills I’ve built up. Timing is everything and I can’t see when this equally motivated partnership would ever happen again.

  8. 0

    Absolutely. So you have a brain, the experience and life skills, and you used to work for someone. Now you have the need, the confidence and maybe some severance pay to go out there and be the boss. Its time.
    (PS 90% of small businesses fail – so be careful and have a business plan)

  9. 0

    “Career transition assistance program’ by the Government not until 2020, well that will be interesting to see if it works or is just another money making racket for those who will run it. There already is the NEIS scheme for those on welfare but you need your idea up and ready. We really need a program to help older people start their own business especially those on low income who cannot even get a loan to start one.



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