Boomerpreneurs: The Experience To Lead
In part one of this article, we learned that “Boomerpreneurs” – baby boomer entrepreneurs – are launching more start-ups than younger generations. Part Two explores why these silver-haired innovators are so comfortable with this role.
“Some research indicates older individuals have fewer worries when they consider the risks of starting a business: they have more experience and often an alternative source of income.”
Kauffman Foundation report
A lifetime accumulating wealth, expertise, and personal and professional connections lowers the risks involved for baby boomers launching new businesses.
Boomers are starting companies across most sectors, according to a report by Kansas City’s Kauffman Foundation, one of the leading non-profit organisations supporting entrepreneurship in the United States.
“Baby Boomer households generally have higher levels of wealth than younger households do. This should provide a strong wealth cushion for those who wish to start companies,” the Kauffman report states. “Combined with their rich work experience, this could raise the probability of new business formation among Boomers.
Some research indicates older individuals have fewer worries when they consider the risks of starting a business: they have more experience and often an alternative source of income. These factors may lower the risk for older individuals to start businesses.”
According to a 2015 Gallup poll, two-thirds of US baby boomers who own businesses say they can easily think of people who would make great partners if they ever decided to start another business.
“This is a clear advantage that boomers likely have gained from decades of cultivating professional contacts through work,” Gallup wrote.
For established Boomerpreneurs – 292 of whom were interviewed for BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s 2017 Global Entrepreneur Report – investment funds, private equity, equity funds and venture funding remain their preferred investment vehicles outside their own businesses.
These veteran executives are also increasingly interested in participating in crowd and seed funding, which “could hint at a desire to get involved with the next generation of companies more directly,” according to the BNP Paribas Wealth Management report. “The old habit of direct action among these entrepreneurs appears not to be dissipating.”
Kamran Elahian, a 62-year-old entrepreneur who co-founded several companies that went on to achieve multibillion-dollar valuations, is similarly unwilling to quit the start-up scene. With investments in several tech companies across the globe through his venture capital firm, the California-based mogul is unwavering in his belief that entrepreneurship is key to peace and prosperity.
“When you have a country overflowing with young people with good minds, give them an education about software, content, high-tech entrepreneurship, and a small sum of money to help them compete,” said Elahian, whose philanthropy work includes co-founding Relief International - Schools Online, which in 20 years of operations has provided computers and Internet access to 6,400 schools in 36 countries.
“You’ve helped generate many new companies. Several will fail, but it begins to create the ecosystem and gives those who failed a better quality experience for their next company,” said Elahian.