Washington, DC - Is it really the millennials who are leading the way when it comes to start up companies? “The truth is that older Americans are in the vanguard of America’s small businesses. A study conducted by the information services company, Experian, puts the average age of these entrepreneurs at 50.3 years old,” according to Dan Weber, president of the senior advocacy organization, AMAC.
Guidant Financial, small business funding, estimates that a third of small business owners are in their fifties and another 21% are 60 years of age or older.
What drives seniors to start up a new business? Weber says it’s because many of them have the know-how, skills and Rolodex – in other words, they are well prepared for the vagaries and surprises of their marketplaces. “Oh yeah, the fact that the fastest growing segment of the population is made up of us older folk probably has something to do with it.”
The Small Business Administration, in fact, claims that “the perfect time to leverage experience, passions, hobbies and resources to launch or purchase a small business” is when you are in your 50s, 60s and even your 70s.
The great majority of employers in the U.S. are small businesses. “The statistics show that small businesses are a principal driver of the economy. Companies with fewer than 500 employees account for an amazing 99.7% of American businesses. Even more startling, 89% of employers have fewer than 20 employees,” notes Weber.
Small businesses consistently account for as much as two thirds of new jobs created in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And business is so good these days that the National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB] reports that the small business sector has 38% more job openings than they can fill.
“The U.S. regained the top spot in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of the most competitive country (out of 140), after losing that position with the advent of the regulatory onslaught of the previous Administration,” says the NFIB.
Weber agrees that the Trump administration can take credit for the booming economy and job market, “notwithstanding former President Obama’s boast that it is all due to him. Whatever personal opinion one may have regarding President Trump, you must admit that it is his direct support of business, in general, and small business, in particular, that have been driving growth over the past two years.”
And, the president of the Association of Mature American Citizens adds that 40% of the entrepreneurs who have created new small businesses represent a true cross-section of the U.S. population. Weber cites a report by the Kaufman Foundation, which found that they include Hispanic [24%], African-American [9%] and Asian [7.5%] men and women.
In 2017, the first full year of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the nation saw “an 82 percent increase in the proportion of minority business owners, specifically with a higher percentage who identified as Hispanic and African American,” compared with 2016, the last full year of Mr. Obama’s term, says Guidant Financial.
NFIB president Juanita Duggan put it this way: “Main Street optimism is on a stratospheric trajectory thanks to recent tax cuts and regulatory changes. For years, owners have continuously signaled that when taxes and regulations ease, earning and employee compensation increase.”