The myth of the millennial founder: Next-gen entrepreneurs are increasingly seniors

People over age 50 are twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as millennials.


September 23, 2019

SeniorPlanet.org

In 2007, Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “Young people are just smarter.” 

Now, seniors and middle-aged Americans are getting revenge. A recent Gallup poll estimated that people over 50 become entrepreneurs at twice the rate of millennials. 

Nowhere is the elder entrepreneurship boom more apparent than at Senior Planet, where older people are learning how to excel in a world where, founder Tom Kamber says, “technology has run them over.” 

‘Critical and urgent’ dreams

Senior Planet, which MIT Technology Review calls the “tech-savviest retirement community on earth,” is a post-60 co-working space and instruction center in New York. Some clients learn how to build online businesses and pitch potential investors, while others just figure out Facebook and Google Hangouts.

Becoming an entrepreneur is often a need because many people share Zuckerberg’s view: Studies have shown employers are far less likely to call back older clients, especially women. 

And Kamber says that when you’re older, “Your horizon is shorter — your dreams become more critical and urgent.” 

From analog skills to Facebook fame 

Success stories at Senior Planet involve everything from fabric to food businesses to artists. In his 50s, Calvin Ramsey ended his insurance career to chase a screenwriting dream. After managing to get a book and play published despite being unable to use email, he went to Senior Planet to learn computer skills. 

Ramsey is now a well-known writer with 37k Facebook fans. One reason for his rapid success? He can finally email scripts.

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