Until recently, people thought that useful working-life ended the day one retired from his job. Nonetheless, this belief has changed due to several reasons. Today, life expectancy has increased and, moreover, the energy with which senior citizens reach advanced age allows them, in increasing numbers, not only to remain active but also to find themselves in the best moment to start their own enterprises.
In fact, this stage of life is ideal to reflect upon those dreams and longings that can still be fulfilled through developing the projects or ideas that they always wanted to follow but perhaps could not because of other obligations to attend to.
How to remain focused at that stage
To make an analysis solid enough to develop a business idea, senior citizens should resort, in the first place, to the knowledge gathered during their former working-life, and immediately evaluate whether it is useful or not to be applied on their present project.
To analyse the relationships’ framework that one has created during his life will serve to define the objective market intended for the product or service in question. To study the environment within which the entrepreneurship is planned, analysing its opportunities and taking into account how the previous experience might apply, will help to profit from those opportunities.
Pablo Coloma, and expert in Productive Finance and General Manager of Emprende, an entity belonging to the BBVA Microfinance Foundation group, remarks that “we grant credit to lots of people who start a business when they are already senior citizens. This can be either because they have retired or because they no longer can get a paid job at their age. And we see that many, with energy and good ideas, take advantage of the market’s opportunities and perform an activity that allows them to make a living and protect their family group from poverty“.
The key to these enterprises seems to lay in their size, so that they can be properly managed. “The best is to have entrepreneurs setting out on their services in a calm, gradual manner. First, a small activity that they can control and market efficiently, and then grow, little by little”, explains Coloma.
“That’s why, in general, at microfinance institutions we start with small loans that go from $100m, and, as businesses progress, so our financing increases. This is the right way to protect entrepreneurship. Today, 8.5% of our clients are senior citizens.