Research

Published on September 21st, 2009 | by Leah Edwards

12

The Average Age of an Entrepreneur is Older than You Might Think

entrepreneurHow old is too old to be an entrepreneur? The stereotype that people take fewer risks as they age does not bear out in a report by the entrepreneur-supporting Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Titled “THE COMING ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOM,” the report shows that the average age of entrepreneurs is higher than many would expect.

“It turns out that over the past decade or so, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group. The 20-34 age bracket, meanwhile, which we usually identify with swashbuckling and risk-taking youth (think Facebook and Google), has the lowest rate.”

Since the U.S. population is aging quickly, the number of people 55 and older is increasing dramatically. Because of increasing (healthy, productive) life expectancies and a decline in lifetime employment by large companies, the Kauffman Foundation is expecting that we’re “on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom”. Download the fairly brief “pdf” of the report..

Some of you may be wondering if the “older, wiser start-up founder” picture holds for technology companies as well, and it does. The average age of the founders of U.S. technology companies is 39—with twice as many over age 50 as under age 25.

If you want to geek-out on statistics about U.S. entrepreneurs, download the 36-page report “Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996-2008.”

Image Credit: senior woman using laptop via Shutterstock



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About the Author

A strategy and marketing consultant, Leah enjoys highlighting the efforts of, and providing information for, social entrepreneurs. In her consulting practice, she works with cause-related businesses and enlightened investors--to see people succeed at doing good for the planet and local communities while doing good for themselves. Leah has a B.S. in business from UC Berkeley and an MBA and Certificate of Public Management from Stanford University. More information at www.leahedwards.com



  • http://www.soniawilson.com Sonia Wilson

    The over 50 generation has a youthful spirit like no other generation before.Technology has chipped in to drive enthusiasm and enhance creativity.

  • http://www.onelifenofear.com OneLifeNoFear

    As a 41 year old entrepreneur this is very good to know! Maybe I am not on the scrap heap just yet!!! Thanks for the article..

  • http://www.elements-of-green.com Gerould Sabin

    Nice! I’m not all alone. We opened Elements of Green on e year ago at the age of 54. We have GREAT company.

  • http://www.entrepreneursworldcup.com/ Jenn

    Hmmm..I’m 28, so that means, I still have plenty years left… I can be a successful entrepreneur like you guys..

    Best regards,
    Jenn
    EntrepreneursWorldCup

  • http://theconsciouslife.com The Conscious Life

    I guess when you reached a certain age, you’re just fed up with all the nonsense and dissatisfaction of working for other people. And I’m one of them. :)

    • http://www.rawist.com/ Thompson

      I hear you. I think I was 16 when I got fed up. :) But working on my first real start up now in mid-20′s. It’s just so hard to do with no capital straight out of school. That’s why we don’t see more under 25. It’s simple really.

      “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly at first.”

  • http://greenleah.greenoptions.com/ Leah Edwards

    I’m glad people of all ages are creative enough and bold enough to be entrepreneurs. Good luck to all of you–

    Leah

  • Kelsey

    The idea that entrepreneurs have to be young may be a result of the media’s bias in favor of youth. The 20-year-old college kid who started facebook might be a more compelling story, from a journalist’s perspective, than a 45-year-old who started a fabulous small business. Both may be equally good entrepreneurs though.

    By the way, I think this illustrates Kahneman’s and Tversky’s Availability Heuristic:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic

  • http://www.aqtext.com/blog leah

    That makes sense considering the difficulty of 50+ year olds in finding new employment.

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