Programme seeks to engage older entrepreneurs in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Programme seeks to engage older entrepreneurs in Limerick

Eamon Ryan, CEO, Local Enterprise Office, Limerick, Anne Connelly, CEO, Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange and Anthony Coleman of LEO Limerick

Nick Rabbittsnick@limerickleader.ie

A NEW start-your-own business programme for people approaching retirement is to kick off in Limerick.

The ‘Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange’ (Isax), which has set up its headquarters in Arthur’s Quay is to welcome older entrepreneurs to its programme, which will see those interested in setting up a new firm taken through a programme of support.

Isax is an independent network of industry academia and government agencies focused on fast-tracking the research and development and commercialisation of innovations for the increasing number of people who are approaching retirement.

The Ingenuinty start your own business programme is designed for entrepreneurs aged over 55 years, and kicks off in September.

The chief executive of Isax, Anne Connolly says there is a need to put to bed the image of a young businessperson – because the reality can be quite different.

She said: “The average age of an entrepreneur is older than what we think. We have the stereotype of Mark Zuckerburg [founder of social network Facebook], the person in the garage, with the piece of really high-tech intelligent software. But the reality is very different. Most people starting a business fall between the ages of 25 and 45, the average age being around 39.”

People approaching retirement age may have various reasons for wanting to set up a company, she added, including a wish to only gradually finish work, or sheer boredom from a job they may have been doing for a long time.

Other reasons include a wish to invest some of the retirement nest egg they have built up for future generations.

But Ms Connolly admits there are various things which could stop older people wanting to branch out on their own – something which will be tackled through the Ingenuity programme.

“Interestingly, the biggest barrier was the societal stereotyping of entrepreneurship. The objective of this is to expose people over the age of 55 to the idea of starting up a business. Get them to grapple with it in real and practical ways,” she added.

The launch event of the Ingenuity programme took place at the Savoy Hotel last Tuesday night.

It was attended by Pat Carroll, the start-up community manager with the sponsor of the scheme, the Bank of Ireland, and Eamon Ryan, who is the chief executive of the Local Enterprise Office in Limerick.

Since setting up in Limerick, Isax has created five new jobs.

For more information on the ‘Start your own business’ programme, telephone their ‘smart ageing’ hub in Arthur’s Quay at 061-317578.