Study claims older entrepreneurs lag behind their younger rivals

OLDER entrepreneurs are less innovative than their younger counterparts, a new study suggests.

The research was based on the idea that as the workforce ages in developed economies, the number of older entrepreneurs is likely to increase as they seek a means to remain active and self-employed.

The study showed that 39.59 per cent of the 14,844 entrepreneurs over the age of 50 who were surveyed offered an innovative product compared to 44.92 per cent of entrepreneurs who were under 30 years of age.

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Meanwhile, 5.43 per cent of the older individuals surveyed relied on technology compared to 8.43 per cent of young entrepre- neurs.

Ana Colvic, of France-based Neoma Business School, who led the study, said: “Our analysis shows that older entrepreneurs are less innovative than younger entrepreneurs and are therefore at a disadvantage while creating a new business.

“This can be explained by the fact that the mindset and routines, that install with age, influence negatively the creation of an innovative company, the reluctance to adopt new technologies in older individuals or by the fact that the propensity to innovate decreases with the ageing pro- cess.”

But Alastair Clegg, chief executive officer of the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), which supports business creation by the over 50s, said the organisation, which is based in the UK, was “surprised” by the research.

He said: “PRIME continues to see enterprising over 50s come up with original business ideas and products in a range of industries, from coffin-making businesses to wedding catering companies and theatre businesses.”

PRIME, which was established by the Prince of Wales, provides people over the age of 50, who are unemployed or under threat of redundancy, with the support to achieve financial, social and personal fulfilment through sustainable self-employment.