SD31 - Ways of Encouraging Senior Citizens to Enter Into Existing Businesses or Start New Businesses Through the Use of Urban and Rural Development Corporations

Executive Summary:
One of the chief problems facing the elderly is the prospect of financial dependence. Some seniors live on limited incomes, well below the income of their working years. Older women have significantly lower incomes than older men. To prevent financial dependence and to increase their financial security, an option for Seniors is to open their own business using the skills and knowledge they have gained over their lifetime. Many small businesses can be started with little financial investment and operated out of a shop or office in the home. Others may require more capital, but there are several resources that can help.

The study found that resources to empower Senior entrepreneurs include Virginia colleges and universities; the United States Small Business Administration; the Virginia Enterprise initiative, operated by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development; the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority, and Community Development Corporations. These agencies provide training in business skills, financial management and technical assistance, as well as loan guaranty programs. There are a number of success stories that demonstrate that for Seniors, retirement from one career offers the opportunity to start a second career and increased financial independence.

The study recommends that Seniors with modest incomes need to be made aware of their potential as entrepreneurs and small business owners. At the same time, agencies and programs that provide assistance to small businesses should be made aware of senior citizens as a pool of experienced, skilled workers who have the maturity and stability to see a business from start-up through completion. State and local agencies and organizations that work with the elderly should be more active in promoting retirement as an opportunity to begin a "second career" and increase financial self-sufficiency.