Over 120 budding entrepreneurs, all over the age of 50 and from all over Ireland, have gathered in Portlaoise in May & June, with the intention of turning their new enterprise ideas into viable start-ups.
Two conferences, both running over two days, each brought a 60+ strong group of “Senior Entrepreneurs” together to attend a Start Your Own Business workshop at the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise. Targeting the over 50s, these residential workshops are a National initiative of the County & City Enterprise Boards in partnership with Senior Enterprise.
Organisers at the County and City Enterprise Boards and Senior Enterprise had to plan the second workshop held in June to cater for the unexpectedly high demand for places at the inaugural session in May of this year.
Two Senior Entrepreneur Role Models, Fergal Keogh from Simtech Aviation and Cathy Whitty from Cathy’s Spelt for Health, have provided great inspiration by sharing their stories and experiences of setting up a new business in their 50s.
14% * of all early stage entrepreneurs in Ireland during 2011 were people aged between 50 and 64 and John Byrne from Senior Enterprise feels that this figure could be significantly increased, saying: “Clearly, there is considerable untapped entrepreneurial potential among those aged 50 or over in Ireland. The purpose behind the ‘Senior Entrepreneurs’ initiative is to encourage and support those wishing to turn a solid idea for a business into a new start-up company. ”
During two ‘Start Your Own Business’ programmes, over 120 participants learned how to assess the feasibility of their business idea, how to develop practical skills for achieving business goals and how to get to grips with social media and on-line marketing.
The Senior Entrepreneurs programme differs from the standard County Enterprise Board ‘Start Your Own Business’ training programmes, in that it also addresses the issue of succession planning and exit strategies, which were added as a result of a pilot programme conducted in 2010.
Sheelagh Daly from the County and City Enterprise Boards said: “From previous Start Your Own Business programmes run throughout the County and City Enterprise Board regions, we’d expect at least 30 of this workshop’s participants to successfully set up a new business over the next eighteen months. And when they do, they can rely on further local enterprise supports to help them reach the next stage of their business.”
Anyone interested in participating in the next programme should contact Senior Enterprise via email email@example.com
‘Senior Entrepreneurs’ is jointly organised by the County and City Enterprise Boards and Senior Enterprise, which is an INTERREG supported EU initiative led by the Mid-East Regional Authority. The Institute for Minority Entrepreneurship at the Dublin Institute of Technology is also supporting the training initiative.