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Fifty Not Out

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Life begins at 50 for a new breed of greying entrepreneur. Mike Collins (48) takes heart and finds out more.  
The expression ‘better late than never’ certainly applies to the 50-something generation that is getting off its collective rear end and starting more businesses than ever before.

According to Barclays Bank, the number of middle-aged people businesses grew by 50% between 1990 and 2000 and now accounts for almost a quarter of new businesses.

Barclays also found that while there is plenty of help available to encourage more young entrepreneurs it’s the frequently written-off over-50s that are actually taking up the challenge and succeeding.

Marcus Austin, editor-in-chief of, said: “As a nation we’re doing everything later in life: finding jobs, getting married, having families. Yet there is still a degree of prejudice against employing the over-50s, which is absurd.”

He continued: “However, the grey generation is using this to its advantage by turning their backs on employment and starting their own businesses. And they’re in an ideal position to do so. They’re more likely to be financially stable, more experienced and often better skilled.”

The Silver Fox

Startups has decided to recognise the achievements of the grey generation by having a ‘Silver Fox’ category in the Startups Awards 2004.

Austin added: “I’d urge all those silver foxes who are proving life begins at 50 to enter so they can inspire even more people to start their own businesses.”

Financial adviser Martin Cunningham agreed: “Age is no barrier to becoming a successful businessperson and I know dozens of people in this age bracket who are doing exactly this.” 

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