When you search the words ‘startup culture’ on Google Images, you’re likely to be greeted by hundreds of photos of 20-somethings laughing around a brightly coloured table or diving into adult-sized ball pools. When you team these images with an abundance of 30-under-30 awards lists and increasing pressure to ‘settle down’ and focus on family life as each year passes, it can sometimes feel as though success needs to be achieved at a young age in order for it to be impressive.
In fact, there’s so much pressure to tick off these arbitrary entrepreneurial milestones sooner rather than later that some founders have been caught lying about their age in order to be included in popular industry rankings and awards.
For those aged 40 or above, it’s unlikely to come as a surprise to learn that ageism can be rife in business, particularly in industries that have a reputation for being fronted by millennials.
However, a growing number of entrepreneurs are showing that although change is needed, there’s no age limit to creating an innovative new business.
A survey from the Institute of Directors found that 53% of their members identified as entrepreneurs and 67% of members were over 50.
In addition, research from Barclays Business revealed a huge 140% increase in the number of business owners aged 65 and over in the last decade. In contrast, growth amongst younger entrepreneurs has been much more modest, increasing by just 25% among those aged 25 – 34.
While younger innovators certainly bring their own qualities to the table, those in their 40s, 50s, 60s or above have built up a wealth of experience, wisdom and knowledge that can have tremendous benefits on the company in question.
After all, with age comes experience, wisdom and knowledge. Considering one of the best ways of learning is by doing, years of trial and error can be a huge driving force and a fantastic way of experimenting with different strategies before finally landing on the one that really works.
Liz Earle, founder of the skincare company with the same name, said: “The older generation adds so much value to the workplace in any context – bringing a wealth of experience and industry contacts to the table. I’m not surprised to see so many budding entrepreneurs of my generation, but it’s great to see them taking the plunge in later life, rather than feeling it’s too late.”