Research on Entrepreneurship After Age 50 in Canada

Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC)

A new CERIC-funded research study led by the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research will address the gap in knowledge about the state of senior entrepreneurship in Canada by investigating the experiences, needs and interests of individuals who have either launched or would like to start their own business after age 50.

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While the number of older adults starting their own businesses grows, there will also be a growing need for career development professionals to better understand entrepreneurship in general as well as any unique characteristics of senior entrepreneurs in the labour market.

Questions to be addressed in the research project titled “A Study on the Status of Senior Entrepreneurship in Canada: Training Implications for Career Counsellors” include:

  • Who are these older entrepreneurs?
  • How can we leverage the experience, existing networks, and perhaps different motivations and skills of senior entrepreneurs to benefit the Canadian economy?
  • What are some of the unique challenges that an older entrepreneur might face – e.g. obtaining financing, risk management, overt and covert ageism, succession planning/exit strategies?
  • What supports are available to senior entrepreneurs, and how can existing supports be improved?
  • How can older entrepreneurs support each another for mutual benefit? What are the lessons that new senior entrepreneurs can learn from those who have already established businesses after age 50+?

The study will consist of online surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups with both established and new senior entrepreneurs to ensure a full understanding of this emerging area. Based on the research results, the Sheridan team will produce a comprehensive report that includes program and policy recommendations for key stakeholders including policy analysts, career development professionals and others who may be guiding or coaching senior entrepreneurs. The report, which will be available in both English and French, is expected to be released in early 2018.