Posted: Tue 14th Jul 2015
Alexandra Felce, founder of Who London, looks at the rise of the 50+ entrepreneur.
I'm not 50 yet, but even I hate the term 'over 50' with the negative connotations it can hold. The term '50+' seems to be becoming common thankfully. It's so much more positive and so it should be!
As we're set to have a third of the UK population being 50+ by 2025, the slant on this generation will surely change course. But why the wait? Research conducted by silversurfers.com concluded that people in their 50s feel 10-14 years younger. This is clear as many of more mature people are modern, active, sociable and take to new experiences such as trying a new sport, learning a different language, or starting their own business.
50+ entrepreneurs have been booming for several years now. Take Arianna Huffington who founded the Huffington Post at 54, Raymond Croc who launched McDonald's at 52, Colonel Sanders who at 65 became successful with Kentucky Fried Chicken and Laura Wilder who only finished her novel, Little House on the Prairie, when she was 65.
The 50+ generations are changing society as we know it. Many mature people are fitter and healthier than those in their 20s and 30s. There are seniorpreneurs starting businesses in their 50s, 60s and beyond and the Office of National Statistics foresees the number of self-employed people aged 50+ will reach 2m by 2020.
Yet, it was only earlier this month I read a newspaper article that said older generations aren't tech savvy enough. Why then are 60% of streetlife.com users 50+? Social media has indeed attracted 'the new 50+' with women of that age currently the largest growing group on Facebook. Age UK is using Facebook and Twitter and has embraced the need for a change in attitudes towards older people by doing so.
Yet, we see so much false advertising of this lively age group. Try and find magazine images depicting the young 50+; it's a challenge! Apparently they all have grey hair and facial lines. How untrue is this! Does every 25 year old have no grey hair in sight?
Generations are getting younger, not older, and it's about time we changed our misconceptions. 50+ is a broad age range so why do so many generalise about them? Are Deborah Meaden, Sir Richard Branson, Lord Sugar, or the huge number of 50+ London Marathon runners slowing down? Some might talk about no spring chickens, but we know who the real hares are.