WASHINGTON – Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, yesterday introduced a bill aimed at boosting training and counseling efforts for entrepreneurs 50 years of age or older. The bill would provide additional funding for live workshops, conferences and mentoring programs, webinars, and free online courses for these “encore entrepreneurs.” Research has shown that encore entrepreneurs are in a strategic growth area of the economy.
“Encore entrepreneurs will play an important role in the coming years in spurring economic growth and creating jobs,” Sen. Landrieu said. “These are seasoned professionals who have been leaders in their fields and can leverage this experience into starting or growing small businesses. I applaud SBA and AARP for their partnership on this issue and look forward to working with them on this legislation that will give encore entrepreneurs the additional tools they need to succeed.”
“AARP supports developing opportunities for older Americans to pursue entrepreneurship as a means to generate income, boost financial security and help others in meeting needs,” said Joyce Rogers, AARP Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. “For many 50+ individuals, entrepreneurship training is the engine that empowers them to use their experience, knowledge, and skills to become job creators.”
The Empowering Encore Entrepreneurs (E3) Act of 2013 (S. 1454) would:
- Authorize additional funds to expand online training for encore entrepreneurs;
- Authorize additional funds for nationwide in-person training events with SBA, its resource partners, and other groups to assist encore entrepreneurs; and
- Require a report to Congress on unique barriers and obstacles faced by encore entrepreneurs in starting/expanding businesses.
The legislation builds off of an existing partnership launched last year between the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the American Association Retired Persons (AARP) at AARP’s Life@50+ National Event and Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The SBA and AARP have a goal to jointly counsel, train or mentor over 100,000 new and existing encore entrepreneurs and give them the tools they need to start and grow businesses in 2013. To date, this partnership has counseled over 60,000 entrepreneurs through various events including:
- 100 encore entrepreneur training and mentoring events during April 2013 in collaboration with SBA’s resource partners and AARP State Offices;
- Six joint SBA/AARP webinars with 13,592 registrants combined.
Currently, there are over 76 million people over the age of 50 in the country. According to the MetLife Foundation, one in four Americans ages 44 to 70 is interested in becoming an entrepreneur in the next five to ten years. Nearly half of these aspiring entrepreneurs reported a desire to be encore entrepreneurs by starting a business with a positive social impact.
The Kauffman Foundation also found that from 1996-2010 26 percent of entrepreneurial activity was produced by people ages 20 to 34 versus 39 percent produced by people ages 55 to 64. Over the next two decades, the increased aging of America combined with a shrinking workforce will only widen this difference.