Over-50s encouraged to start their own businesses

October 5 has been designated as Ireland’s first National 50+ Enterprise Day.

October 5 has been designated as Ireland’s first National 50+ Enterprise Day.

Aimed at anyone aged 50 and over, the initiative hopes to boost the number of “senior entrepreneurs” in Ireland by increasing the number of new companies set up by people in that age group.

To mark National 50+ Enterprise Day, the Kilkenny County Enterprise Board is jointly hosting a day-long conference in Dublin under the theme of “Succeeding In Your Start-Up.” Building on the success of previous workshops for senior entrepreneurs, the Enterprise Boards will be focussing on areas such as sourcing finance, effective management skills and business exit planning.

Three Irish entrepreneurs who all set up a business when they were in their 50s are due to share their experiences and insights on the day: Jill Aston set up an advertising bag stand company called ‘Bagsitt’ after getting the idea on holiday; John Carrig set up an IT services company called ‘Carrig Solutions’ after facing redundancy from a multinational IT company; and John Shortt, a former amateur racing cyclist, set up ‘Life-Cycle’ when he spotted a gap in the market to distribute bicycles, clothing and components.

The National 50+ Enterprise Day initiative was launched by John Perry, minister of state with responsibility for small business at the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation.

“Increasing the number of new start-up businesses is a crucial part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. With thousands of potential entrepreneurs aged 50 and over in this country, National 50+ Enterprise Day is a new initiative now in place to help encourage a higher level of entrepreneurship in Ireland,” he said.

Fiona Deegan from the Kilkenny County Enterprise Board, said that, “by telling the stories of those who successfully started a business in their 50s and by highlighting the various supports on offer, we want to encourage more people in this age group to consider setting up their own company.”

The national conference will take place on October 5 from 9am to 5pm in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, as part of EU SME Week 2012.

In addition to presentations from management consultants Blaise Brosnan and Lar Burke, bank representatives will be at hand to provide advice on how to secure start-up funding from financial institutions.

The subsidised cost to attend the ‘National 50+ Enterprise Day’ conference is €25, which includes all conference materials and a light lunch. Bookings can be made through www.fingalceb.ie/50+