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Program offer mentors for “encore” entrepreneurs

Americans have always been rightly proud of the entrepreneurial spirit in this country. But great business ideas don’t just come out of college dorm rooms. In fact,

so-called “encore” entrepreneurs constitute the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States. 

A 2010 survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation found that Americans age 55 to 64 start new business ventures at a higher rate than any other age group. New research shows 25 percent of  people age 44 to 70 are interested in starting their own business or nonprofit organization in the next five to 10 years. This is exciting news, especially when you consider there are 76 million people over the age of 50 in the United States. 

That’s why the U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP have teamed up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month in April. With a special focus on entrepreneurs over the age of 50, the SBA and AARP will match up encore entrepreneurs with successful business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance.

Mentor Month is an effort by SBA and AARP to provide a range of resources and online tools to entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 50. Events will help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors, including those from the SBA network of small business development centers,

We know this kind of training can be critical for the success of a small business. It can help folks bring their experience, knowledge and skills to a new venture, which creates exciting new opportunities  — and jobs.

According to a recent AARP survey, 15 percent of workers age 45 to 74 are self-employed. In addition,

13 percent of those who are current wage and salary workers say they plan to start a business once they retire.  Small business ownership  is a good option for many baby boomers. Small business owners who get long-term counseling could see increased sales and hire more workers.

Throughout April, SBA district offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners will host events around the country. These events will include speed mentoring, which allows mentors with small business experience and entrepreneurs to share information during one-on-one counseling sessions. Workshops will featured successful small business owners teaching best practices to entrepreneurs. For more information, log on to www.sba.gov/mentormonth. 

The SBA also offers free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Go to www.sba.gov/encore to access the online training and other resources available for entrepreneurs over the age of 50. We’ll also host two webinars in April to help current and potential entrepreneurs. 

There’s no better time to start a business than today. For Americans, especially those over 50, why not make April the start of the next chapter of your career?

The Business Times has served as the definitive source for Grand Junction business news since 1994. The journal offers news, views and advice you can use twice each month in print with daily updates online at www.TheBusinessTimes.com
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