Age is not a deterrent when starting a business

Shirley Hermiston, Business Support Manager at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC)
Shirley Hermiston

By Shirley Hermiston, Business Support Manager at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC)

Over-50’s could be the new start-up generation and it’s easy to see why.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there were 4.6m self-employed people in the UK – up from 3.8m in 2008, with the over 50’s accounting for 43 per cent of those who started their own business.

The figures are encouraging for the older generation who are thinking of starting up and with a large number of over-50’s already self-employed, there’s many start-ups they can take inspiration from.

One of those is 55-year-old Neil Travis (pictured) who launched his own business with support from the BIC. Neil’s business, Discover Edventure, involves Neil working with schools, sports clubs and businesses by taking them on team bonding activities.

Neil Travis who started a business with the BIC's start-up support team
Neil Travis, owner of Discover Edventure

Neil, who is a former PE teacher, went self-employed to build on his passion for education and sport and he wisely utilised some of the contacts he built up from a long career in education to help him on his journey. And it’s having the right contacts and knowledge where older entrepreneurs can have the edge over younger entrepreneurs.

In addition to having more life experience, ‘olderpreneurs’ often have dreams they have wanted to fulfil for years and may have more confidence to make it happen. They are also more likely to have a greater idea of their own strengths and weaknesses and how to get on with others, which is so important when you are in business. However, please remember: whatever weakness you may have – always remember that there’s support out there to help you develop. You don’t have to be alone when going self-employed.

At the BIC we understand that it can be daunting for anyone who wants to start a business, that’s why our experienced and friendly business advisers are more than happy to support anyone who is thinking of going self-employed.

We’ll help you with various matters of starting a business including writing a business plan and giving you the confidence you may need to become your own boss.

Want to start a business?

If you’re over 50 – or any age – and you want to go it alone in business but need that extra bit of support, please contact our start-up team on 0191 516 6111 or visit

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