How the IoD can help older entrepreneurs

A lady in her 50s to illustrate older entrepreneurs

More and more over-50s are starting their own businesses – the IoD is here to help them make that transition from employee to entrepreneur

One of the most significant recent trends in the British economy has been the rise of older entrepreneurs. Professor Mark Hart of Aston University, a government adviser who leads the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme, says: “The shake-up from the recession has provided the impetus for people who are over 50 to say that it’s time to do something that they’ve always wanted to do, and to take an opportunistic approach to creating their own business. 

“These are not people who are past retirement, but individuals with years of productive activity in front of them, and their move into the ranks of entrepreneurs opens an interesting new aspect within the UK’s business culture, both socially and economically.”

Indeed, a paper published by the Future Laboratory in 2014 stated that 1.7 million people running their own business in the UK were aged over 50. Perhaps most significantly, the report also claimed that 70 per cent of start-ups led by the over-50s will stay in business for at least five years, compared to a survival rate of 28 per cent for younger entrepreneurs.

According to Alastair Clegg, chief executive for the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise: “The over-50s have the skills, experience and dedication that naturally lend themselves to enterprise and businesses started by older people help benefit the economy, provide jobs and work for other people and, more importantly, help keep older people in the workforce.” 

In spring, the IoD will publish a comprehensive examination into the growing trend of the later-life entrepreneur. Written by the IoD Policy Unit, the report will form part of the IoD’s series of  ‘big ideas’ that will examine what Britain might look like in 2030. In a world where people are living longer than ever before, the later-life entrepreneurship sector will become ever more important for the economy.

This all helps to paint a largely positive picture. But anyone of this demographic looking to strike out on their own may still feel apprehensive about taking what is possibly a life-changing decision, especially given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

This is where the IoD can help, providing expert advice and steering you through an exciting but challenging transition and ultimately helping you to get your new business
off the ground.

The Information and Advisory Service (IAS) offers tailored, confidential one-to-one advice from specialist professionals up to four times a calendar year. This service includes an opportunity to put your business plan in front of our expert advisers, who will provide you with the feedback you need to help turn that plan into reality.

11 ways the IoD can help older entrepreneurs 

Our finance adviser can discuss the various funding options available for start-ups, while the information team can also provide additional supporting detail.

Market research
You can request market research summaries from the IAS, as well as company listings of potential competitors.

Forming a company
Get guidance on the different forms a company can take, and discuss your situation with one of the IoD’s business law specialists.

Our marketing adviser can run through your strategy, and offer you expert guidance on the available options, including how to get the most from your social media strategy.

Legal and tax questions

From the details of setting up in Europe to VAT rules for selling online, our helplines can provide a quick answer to legal and tax questions for members up to 25 times in a calendar year.

Business Information Service
BIS can research enquiries, including market research, funding providers and company structure information. Again this service is available for members up to 25 times in a calendar year.

Brexit helpline
We have created a hub where you can find the latest information, guidance and advice. This includes a helpline to address any concerns you may have about starting a new business.

Certificate in Company Direction
This certificate provides business leaders (including those running start-ups) with a foundation in effective directorship to deal with all aspects of running a company – regardless of its size. It is the best option for somebody starting their own company, as well as for experienced directors going solo who may need to develop a 360-degree view.

Meet and exchange ideas with other entrepreneurs at IoD events held at our 15 regional centres across the UK. Members of Office Solutions also benefit from regular networking events at 116 Pall Mall that provide an ideal opportunity to talk to directors who have started their own business.

10 IoD Policy Voice
The IoD’s authoritative public policy panel connects 3,000 members of all levels of experience. It allows entrepreneurs, new and old, to shape the IoD’s approach via surveys and forums and set the agenda for our regular dialogue with ministers, government officials and key influencers. 

11 Director magazine and

Both the magazine and website are full of expert advice and help as well as stories of inspiring entrepreneurs – of all ages. And remember – members get special discounted rates for adverts on the website and in the magazine. 

More info on how we can help older entrepreneurs

The IAS has produced a short animated clip on how it can help somebody to launch their own business.

To find out more about how the IoD can help later-life entrepreneurs visit

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Become a member of the IoD

The IoD has a range of memberships for directors, founders and co-founders, providing all the resources and facilities needed to enhance your business. To find out more about membership offerings and to join today, visit

About author

Ryan Herman

Ryan Herman

Alongside his work for Director, Ryan has written for SportBusiness International, VICE Sports, Populous, Audi and Gallop Magazine and was previously editor of Sky Sports Magazine.

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