Jan 10

Why over-50s are the best at setting up a business

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Is success at business really just a matter of age?

More people than ever before are setting up a business past the age of 50 – in fact over-50s make up 42% of the number of self-employed people working in the UK. Not only that but they’re good at it.

Whether you’re unemployed, facing redundancy or just looking to become your own boss, there is help out there to start up your business.

In fact your 50s might be the perfect time to set up a business – whereas only 28% of businesses set up by young entrepreneurs last more than five years, over 70% of businesses set up by over 50s last!



How tough do you have to be to run your own business?

The likelihood is if you’re reading this then you’re probably already interested in starting up your own business.

If you’re still just toying with the idea, however, there are plenty of perks to being self-employed:

  • Financial independence
  • The motivation that comes from being your own boss
  • The opportunity to potentially turn your hobby into something that makes you money
  • The ability to use all your skills as you see fit
  • Flexible working hours so you can work when you’re at your most productive
  • Personal satisfaction and contentment
  • The chance to leave depressing 9-5 days in stuffy offices behind

Starting a business when you’re over 50 will mean you’re able to draw on all your experience and skills that you have learnt and focus it into your business.

However, being self-employed isn’t easy – you have to be self-disciplined and organised, and remember, you won’t get paid if you’re off sick!

But if that doesn’t put you off then great, because many people find being self-employed liberating and motivating.



Freebies, freebies, freebies!

PRIME (The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise)  is a charity set-up especially to help people over the age of 50 realise their ambition of starting a business.

It was set-up by the Prince of Wales after he was complemented for his help in getting young people work but urged to do the same for the over 50s who were being overlooked because of their age.

PRIME have so far helped over 28,000 people make their first steps towards self-employment and have clients who have set up a variety of businesses including dog grooming, fudge making and even a celebrity mask maker.

PRIME can offer several things to help you on your way to setting up a business –

  • setting up a businessFree courses – PRIME offer a range of free courses taught by experts, that take place across the country, on setting up your own business. All their courses are accredited by the UK Sector Skills Body for Enterprise so you know they are of a high standard.
  • Resources – PRIME have a vast collection of free online resources to help you every step of the way as you begin your business. They have articles on everything from what tax help is available for new businesses to how to generate business through social media.
  • Mentoring – Once you’ve attended one of the courses, PRIME can provide you with a mentor. This is someone who’s an expert in their field and PRIME tries to ensure they are well-matched for the type of business you want to start. Mentors are good for discussing ideas, asking questions and generally supporting you on your journey.
  • Networking events – Networking is an important way of expanding your business – you can share ideas, meet other business owners and potentially meet future business partners. PRIME puts on informal networking events which often include a guest speaker, as well as drinks and nibbles.

To be eligible to apply for help from PRIME you must be 50 or older and unemployed or facing redundancy.

If you’re just after some good information then you should check out the ‘Starting your own business’ section of the AgeUK site. This talks you through the types of businesses available and what help you can expect from the Jobcentre. has a simple but useful guide to setting up your own business, telling you everything you need to know, from registering your intellectual property to finding partners, supplies and premises.


Where can I get money to start my business?

setting up a businessFirstly you can check out our article on how to get funding for starting a business as most of those loans and schemes are available to the over 50s.

One of the main ways you can get funding for your business is by getting a Start Up Loan. Originally these were only available for people between the ages of 18-30 but now anyone can apply for a loan of between £1,000 – £10,000.

To be eligible for a start-up loan you must be a British citizen or UK legal resident living in the UK,  and either be interested in starting up a business or in the first 12 months of trading.

It is a loan, not a grant, so you will have to pay it back. Applicants must pay back their loan within one to five years at a fixed APR (currently 6.2%). Thankfully you can pay back the loan early without penalty should that be something you’re able to do.

PRIME have their own website where you can apply for a start-up loan and support package, which includes exclusive offers such as free accounting software and reduced fees with eBay, as well as a mentor to guide you through the early stages. You can apply here.


Get more support for free

Now you know the support that is available, you should check out these articles before you begin:

You can also check out this business encyclopedia for a comprehensive guide to setting up a business.


Over to you

Setting up a business is never easy but with determination, and using the skills and experience you have picked up along the way, you can start a successful business and you can become your own boss.

You’ve heard what we have to say – now it’s over to you.


Are you interested in setting-up a business? What kind of business would you start? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Rudolf Kung
Rudolf Kung

Holiday estates in Greece is my Business idea. There are gorgeous estates on Islands in the mediteraneal waiting to be refurbished and rented. There is a huge global market of People who would love to spend their Holidays on a Island.
Well the idea is not new but I have some experience and local People with unique properties.

By the way I like your site very much!:-))



Well Rudi,
I like your idea, I am over 50, I live near Athens airport and Pireus/Rafina/Lavrio port, I have lived in the islands, I like travelling, I like refurbishing houses and have some experience, can all this work somehow together?

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