If you are over the age of 50 and need some help starting a new business, April is your month.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and AARP are partnering to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month, which will match entrepreneurs over the age of 50 with successful business owners and community leaders to get advice and assistance.
Throughout April, SBA district offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners will host events around the country. The programs will include speed mentoring, which allows mentors with small business experience to share information with entrepreneurs during one-on-one counseling sessions. In other programs, entrepreneurs can learn best practices from successful small business owners at workshops.
"The SBA is working hard to increase opportunities for small businesses of the baby boomer generation, and we believe 50-plus entrepreneurs will drive significant new-business growth in the coming years," said Tameka Montgomery, SBA associate administrator for entrepreneurial development.
The events will connect "encore entrepreneurs" — those over 50 — with mentors, such as those from SBA's network of Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers and SCORE chapters, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals,who can help throughout the life cycle of an entrepreneur's business. To find events in your area, visit http://www.sba.gov/mentormonth.
Research shows that encore entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing group of new business owners in the United States. A 2010 survey by the Kauffman Foundation found that Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 start new business ventures at a higher rate than any other age group, including 20-somethings.
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"AARP knows that many older Americans pursue entrepreneurship as a way to generate income and strengthen financial security," said Debbie Banda, AARP interim vice president for financial security. "And for many of these workers, it is also a way to turn a hobby or passion into a paycheck."
In addition to this month's mentoring programs, the SBA is also offering free online courses and resources throughout the month to help entrepreneurs over the age of 50 start or grow their businesses. Find the online training and other resources at www.sba.gov/encorev.