Jonathan J. Higuera

There is a future for the family-owned business

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If you have deferred your dream to own your very own business and think it’s too late, think again.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and AARP have teamed up to offer Americans 50 years old and over the resources and knowledge to start and grow their own businesses.

The strategic alliance hopes to train 100,000 people to become “encore entrepreneurs” through online training courses and a nationwide network of business mentors and counselors.

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“No matter what your age, if you have an idea or a business that’s ready to move to the next level, the SBA wants to make sure you have access to the tools you need to start and grow,” said SBA administrator, Karen Mills.

According to a USA Today-Gallup poll, 63 percent of American adults plan to work in retirement and two-thirds say they enjoy the work they do.

Working side-by-side with AARP, the federal agency charged with helping small business growth is looking to tap those baby boomers and Americans over 50 years old who have years of professional experience working for others and are ideally positioned to become their own bosses.

The SBA has set up a dedicated web page for them featuring an online self-assessment tool to help potential small business owners understand their readiness for starting a business, plus information on business planning, shaping a winning business idea, professional counseling, financial services and information about local resources in different locations. Visit the page at sba.gov/content/50entrepreneurs.

SBA and AARP will also jointly develop and host a customized online course, self-assessment and webinar series for older entrepreneurs. SBA already offers a suite of online courses for people who want to start and grow a business. To take a course, go to sba.gov/training and check out “Online Courses.” Course topics include start-up basics, finance strategies, marketing tactics, overseas trade and more.

There are more than 70 million Americans over 50 years old. For many, business ownership is a practical option for a second career.

“For many older entrepreneurs, starting a small business can be an opportunity to transform a lifetime hobby or interest, or years of professional experience, into a lucrative line of work,” Mills adds.

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