Posted 05/22/2012 - 12:45:12pm by Marc Freedman
Myth: Innovation is the province of the young.
Reality: Millions of Americans 50 and older are starting their own enterprises.
When jobs are hard to find and gray-haired applicants don't feel entirely welcome, many in midlife are drawing from their experience and creativity to become entrepreneurs.
Recent research from MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures shows that one in four Americans ages 44 to 70 – about 25 million people – are interested in starting their own businesses or nonprofit organizations in the next five to 10 years.
The findings reinforce consistent research from the Kauffman Foundation, which shows that for 11 of the 15 years between 1996 and 2010, Americans ages 55 to 64 either had highest rate of entrepreneurial activity of any age group or shared the highest rate with another age group. National Journal reports that 9 million of the nation's 15 million small business owners were born before 1965.
Later entrepreneurship often crosses paths with another later-life trend – the urge to give back. Research shows that half of those who want to become midlife entrepreneurs – more than 12 million people ages 44 to 70 – also want to meet community needs or solve a critical social problem at the same time. For more on these pioneering encore entrepreneurs, please click here.