Historically, the older age group has been less likely to embrace self-employment than their younger counterparts, with just four per cent of the over 50s involved in entrepreneurial activity between 2002 and 2008, compared to five per cent for the 18 to 25 bracket. However, in recent years the situation has begun to change, and in 2013 the proportion of over 50s running their own business reached the same level as the rest of the adult population, at 6.5 per cent.
To mark this shift, Aldermore recognises five inspiring mature business owners who are achieving small business success beyond 50.
Three Minute Theatre
Being made redundant from their roles as college drama teachers in 2011 gave husband and wife team Gina Topliff Frost and John Topliff the push they needed to finally pursue their dream of setting up their own theatre. Housed within Manchester’s Affleck’s Palace alternative shopping complex, Three Minute Theatre showcases a range of original productions spanning theatre, music, comedy and more.
Keep it Kind
After 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, 64 year old Michael Harris was on the verge of retirement when his daughter gave him the idea for Keep it Kind. Understanding that adult deodorants can be harmful for young skin, he developed a range of products for teens and pre-teens which is now stocked by several major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots.
No Desire To Retire
Nearing retirement age himself, founder Steve Perry recognised that despite their continued willingness and ability to work, many people over 50 were facing discrimination and struggling to find continued employment. To combat the issue, he set up No Desire to Retire, a free service connecting mature individuals with employers willing to take on experienced staff, which recently gained official support from the Department of Work and Pensions.
Realising that he hadn’t built up the pension pot he was hoping for, serial entrepreneur Colin King decided to launch a new venture to boost his income. The technology-savvy 60 year old created revision site Education Quizzes in 2008 to provide a more engaging approach to learning, enlisting teachers to create entertaining quizzes based on the school curriculum.
51 year old Tracey Marshall turned her passion for sewing into a business in 2012, leaving behind a 22-year role in a call centre. Under the Thread Squirrel brand, Marshall sells a line of embroidered cushion covers and tote bags which are personalised to mark locations of special significance for each buyer.
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