The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are teaming up to host National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month, targeted at entrepreneurs over the age of 50.
Building on the success of a joint SBA and AARP Mentor Day in October, the two organizations will match "encore entrepreneurs" with successful business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance. To find a local event, anyone interested can go to www.sba.gov/mentormonth.
Throughout April, SBA district offices, state AARP offices and SBA resource partners will host more than 100 events around the country. Events include speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information for five-minute sessions, and mentor lunches for entrepreneurs to learn best practices from successful small business owners.
"Many new entrepreneurs are saving their best acts for their encore performance," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "They're using their decades of expertise and their contacts to start new businesses and to finally pursue that venture that has been stirring their dreams for all these years. The SBA and the AARP are once again focusing our efforts during Encore Entrepreneurship Mentor Month to help transform those dreams into a successful reality."
"SBA and AARP's partnership for an April Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Month is commitment to providing individuals aged 50 and older with the training, tools and knowledge to empower them as small business owners and job creators," said Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. "This month will give the opportunity to reach out to entrepreneurs and small business owners across our region to familiarize them with the resources provided by the SBA and AARP that will allow them to start and grow a business."
Mentor Month is part of a larger effort by SBA and AARP to provide a range of resources to more than 100,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 50 this year. The events will help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors such as those from SBA's network of Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, and SCORE chapters who can help throughout the life of an entrepreneur's business.
"AARP supports developing opportunities for older Americans to pursue entrepreneurship as a means to generate income, boost financial security and assist others in meeting needs," said Jean Setzfand, AARP vice president of financial security. "AARP creates real possibilities by connecting experienced workers with the practical information and guidance they need to start or grow a small business."
One in four individuals ages 44 to 70 is interested in becoming an entrepreneur and 63 percent of Americans plan to work during retirement, according to the website www.encore.org. Small business ownership is a good option for many baby boomers. Small business owners who get long-term counseling may see bigger sales, hire more workers and have more longevity. SBA and AARP will provide training and mentoring services to older entrepreneurs to help them successfully start and grow businesses and create jobs.
SBA developed a 50+ toolkit that includes free online courses targeted at helping encore entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses. The training courses include profiles of successful entrepreneurs, recommended action steps, and information on licensing and financing. The toolkit and other resources are available at www.sba.gov/encore.
AARP and SBA also are producing two webinars in April to help current and potential entrepreneurs. For more information, and to register, anyone interested can visit www.aarp.org/startabusiness.