Mature Entrepreneurs in Germany and Poland – a Life Course Perspective on Self-Employment

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Annette FRANKE, EH Ludwigsburg, Germany
Sabine DUMMERT, FU Berlin, Germany
The phenomenon of increasing entrepreneurship rates among older adults can be observed in many industrialized capitalistic countries, but also in the societies in Central and Eastern Europe, where the free market economy has a shorter and more turbulent history, even though the general rates of latent entrepreneurs are much lower in CEE countries. The topic has been studied empirically for over three decades revealing many facets of this type of activity (e.g., motivations, different push and pull factors, opportunities and barriers of starting an enterprise, types of businesses or typologies of older entrepreneurs). However, still little is known about the construction of life courses of mature entrepreneurs, their future perspectives, or the influence of institutional factors. This paper presents first findings from the binational research project MOMENT “Making of mature entrepreneurship”, which compares the life courses of older entrepreneurs 50plus in East and West Germany and Poland. The project takes on a dynamic perspective on the process of becoming an entrepreneur. The empirical material includes qualitative interviews with mature entrepreneurs and experts as well as some findings from a secondary data analysis (incl. SHARE). The paper will compare the similarities and differences in the socio-cultural backgrounds and their impact on the path to self-employment. The analysis includes identification and interpretation of the most significant transitions, trajectories and turning points on the path to self-employment.