There is empirical evidence that entrepreneurial behavior, i.e. the creation of a new firm by an individual is more common among young people than among older ones. Among different reasons, it seems that individual willingness to invest time in starting new firms decline with age. At the same time, numerous conceptual and empirical studies point out the growing senior entrepreneurship phenomenon, which designs the creation of a new firm by people aged 55+.
Reasons for this could be the evolution of the age structure of the population in our developed countries, with growing numbers of retired or not far from retired people. Other reasons are pre-retirement because of restructuration of companies, geographical or professional mobility.
Little research has been done concerning senior entrepreneurship in Switzerland. This paper responds to the need of more data and knowledge about this topic. After clarification of the terminology used, the paper describes the methodology and the dataset. We will actually use the Swiss GEM 2007 dataset, a large survey-based study of entrepreneurship in the world.
Contrasting with younger ones, with a special focus on motivation, perception and entrepreneurial behavior, we draw a picture of the senior entrepreneur.
Without any surprise, there is an age effect on entrepreneurship behaviour. In the same time, senior entrepreneurship is not a marginal issue. By discussing opportunity recognition and senior entrepreneurs, our paper proposes a contribution about the origins and causes of entrepreneurship behavior.
The purpose of this paper is – beyond a theoretical contribution – to encourage or promote senior entrepreneurship as an answer to the problems that occur when a society ages, like pension costs and costs for health and medical services.
|Keywords:||Third Age Entrepreneurship, Senior Entrepreneurship, Opportunity Recognition|
Professor, School of Business Administration, Haute école de gestion, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Fribourg, FR, Switzerland
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