A Mature Entrepreneur –a New Social Role for Older Adults?
The expression “mature entrepreneur” possesses a twofold meaning. Mature in the sense of chronological age (such as 50+), and mature in terms of life and work experience, as well as social, human and (often) economic capital. This group represents those individuals, who start their entrepreneurial activity at later stages of their professional careers. As described by Ainsworth and Hardy (2008) an older entrepreneur is considered a “risky project”. With embarking on this new occupational path, the older entrepreneur takes on variety of risks that are common for all-age entrepreneurs (financial and legal risks of failure), as well as age specific risks of acting against certain age norms, social expectations and fixed behavioural patterns.
The question addressed in this presentation are: what is the image(s) of a mature entrepreneur and how is it being constructed in public policy, as well as in social imagination? How is it related to the policy discourses and models of Active Ageing Agenda in Europe? What are the characteristics of an emerging model of mature entrepreneurship? The presentation will reflect on the literature and policy analysis regarding the creation of a new model for late life activity- mature entrepreneurship, as well as present some preliminary empirical evidence from an ongoing project.