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Entrepreneurs: Grayer Than You’d Think

This is a great article that was recently published in portfolio.com. It points out that start-ups and entrepreneurship is not limited to the twenty somethings. Many gray hairs (like me) are making the cross over and finding success.

Thanks, Pat

Here is the article:

A new Kauffman Foundation study finds the most active entrepreneurs are older than you might think.

Think entrepreneur and you think of young billionaire Mark Zuckerberg or maybe Andrew Mason, who took Groupon public with much fanfare. But according to a new study, the age of these entrepreneurs bucks an overall trend.

In fact, over the past decade, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-to-64 age group, according to a Kauffman Foundation study. The age bracket that includes 20- to 34-year-olds actually has the lowest rate of such activity, reports USA Today.

Kauffman's latest study shows that about 23 percent of new entrepreneurs in the year 2010 were in the 55-to-64 age group, up from 15 percent in 1996. Experts suggest that one reason for this is the recession, because people who lost their jobs took the opportunity to start their own businesses.

Others just decided to start businesses because the time was right.

Among the entrepreneurs who have spoken to Portfolio.com recently who started their own companies later in life is David Horn, a retired banker who started the South Florida-based daily deal site CoupTessa, which caters to women. He calls it a “multimillion-dollar business that was successful out of the box” and credits his financial background, as well as decades as a husband and father, for his aptitude for figuring out what women want.

Ken Austin, who launched the Avion tequila brand that ultimately got distribution in 47 states through a deal with Pernod Ricard, found success with some help from a friend in Hollywood with whom he had a long personal and professional relationship.

One thing that companies founded by these later-to-the-game entrepreneurs have going for them: experience and connections.

This month, Kauffman will begin a series of meetings around the country to promote entrepreneurship among baby boomers, a group that includes those born between 1946 and 1964.

Teresa Novellino writes for Portfolio.com