Encore Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs, Meeting Needs

Judi Townsend-Henderson became an encore entrepreneur in her mid-40s, creating a mannequin recycling business.


Mix a slow economy and a shortage of jobs with a large number of aging boomers looking for meaning and purpose in their work. The result is a growing number of “encore entrepreneurs” seeking to launch income-generating ventures that make a positive difference in their communities.

New research released by Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures) and funded by MetLife Foundation shows:

  • Approximately 25 million people – one in four Americans ages 44 to 70 – are interested in starting businesses or nonprofit ventures in the next five to 10 years.
  • More than 12 million of these aspiring entrepreneurs are potential encore entrepreneurs who want to make a positive social impact as well as a living.
  • Potential encore entrepreneurs have realistic financial expectations and plan local, small ventures to meet needs in their communities.

These aspiring entrepreneurs bring a lot of experience to the table, including an average of 31 years of work experience and 12 years of community involvement. Additionally, five out of six report having management experience – 15 years on average.

The research, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, is culled from responses to an online survey of 400 adults ages 44 to 70 who report interest in starting businesses or nonprofit ventures in the next five to 10 years.

To learn more, check out the following resources:

Judi Henderson-Townsend is among the millions of encore entrepreneurs. A former account executive in the health care and travel industries, she created Mannequin Madness, a business that promotes the reuse and recycling of mannequins.

Henderson-Townsend admits she would not have had the confidence to become an entrepreneur when she was younger: “I needed all my previous work experience to help me launch and sustain this business."

To check out Encore.org's research on entrepreneurship and other topics, click here.