By Brenda Johnson, Work, Careers and Job @40+
SOURCE River West Entrepreneurship Center is helping Boomers with career and retirement makeovers. SOURCE RW is an education and economic initiative promoting and encouraging business ownership. “We are finding that many people in their 50s, 60s and 70s attend our programming along with younger potential entrepreneurs,” says Mark Roger, center director.
This follows a national trend of senior entrepreneurs. A recent headline in the Financial Times states, “Over-50s are the new business start-up generation.” When mature employees leave the workforce, retirement is not always an option. Some are inspired to turn a passion into a business, and some participate in programs to expand their skills for an existing business. According to Roger, “Staying engaged in business is important for many who participate in SOURCE RW workshops.” He shared the story of a 70-something entrepreneur extending her business presence to LinkedIn. It ultimately landed her a television interview about her company. Other participants have sought out Source RW to learn more about social media for business.
Entrepreneurship is growing. The number of self-employed people in the United States increased by nearly 150,000 between 2014 and 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many (85.7 percent) of the new business owners were over 40 years old. Medical treatments and technology are improving health, and life expectancies are increasing in the United States. These factors give people more years to invest in running a business.
The center is focused on creating businesses and jobs in four near west side areas represented by the Haughville and Stringtown We Care and Stringtown neighborhood associations. Roger explained, “We have had someone from Michigan attend workshops — but generally it is local residents.” SOURCE RW has the mission of fostering success of the residents of Near West and Central Indiana, according to Roger, and has partnerships with IUPUI, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and neighborhood residents. Through the partnerships, SOURCE RW offers workshops, mentoring, a monthly newsletter, guest speakers and one-on-one coaching. IU’s Kelley School of Business Indianapolis sponsored a business pitch competition for the center’s open house in December 2016.
Read this and other articles in the Jan-Feb 2018 issue of the IndyBOOMER magazine.