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50+ Entrepreneurs Are Growing in U.S.

Research report shows major surge since 2007

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A new report says that 3 in every 10 entrepreneurs are over the age of 50 today, compared to 2 in 10 in 2007.

The number of entrepreneurs over age 50 is surging in the United States, having increased by 50 percent since 2007, according to a new research report by benefit outsourcing supplier Paychex.

The report, based on payroll data from a group of Paychex startup clients, along with survey responses from more than 500 business owners, indicates that 3 in 10 entrepreneurs are 50-plus today, compared to 2 in 10 in 2007. The manufacturing industry has the highest percentage of business owners 50 and older, the survey states.

“Our data affirms that entrepreneurship played an important role in the growth of the economy coming out of the recession,” Paychex President and CEO Martin Mucci said in a statement. “Coupled with the positive feedback we received from business owners about their attitudes and perspectives, the clear message from this report is that the state of entrepreneurship is strong."

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Seventy-eight percent of business owners 50 and older said the top reason they’d recommend starting a business was the satisfaction of working for themselves.
  • Among the 50-plus group, 21 percent said they were concerned that finding good employees would be a barrier to their business. That number dropped among younger entrepreneurs; only 7 percent of business owners 18 to 34 listed that issue as a concern.
  • Older business owners appeared more concerned than their younger counterparts about the overall impact of regulations. When asked to rank the two most-effective policy changes they’d like to see, 39 percent of the 50-plus group listed fewer regulations. Among business owners 18 to 34, that number was 20 percent.

Overall, 79 percent of small business owners would recommend starting a business today, the survey said, and 71 percent said today’s business environment was better or the same compared to when they started their businesses. Sixty-four percent were optimistic or very optimistic about their ability to make a profit, and 58 percent were optimistic or very optimistic about their overall prospects for growth.

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