Business activity will shift gear in the City of Unley as a new program developed in collaboration with the University of South Australia and supported by Office for Ageing Well, SA Health opens up new opportunities for older people to explore entrepreneurship later in life.
The [email protected] program aims to develop capabilities in people aged over 50 years, helping them build the confidence, skills and awareness they need to set up a new business in their community.
Michael Hewitson AM, Mayor of Unley, says the program will inspire and empower mature and older Australians to consider new business opportunities.
“Entrepreneurship is not limited by age – it’s all about having a great idea, plus the skills and know-how to make this happen,” Mayor Hewitson says.
“The [email protected] program taps into the unique needs and life experiences of mature people to help them identify new business ideas, then helps them develop their abilities to make those ideas a reality.”
Catering to the creative, low-risk preferences of older people, the [email protected] program will focus on developing the skills required for micro businesses and social enterprises, as opposed to traditional entrepreneurship programs that are driven by high growth and external funding.
UniSA researcher Dr Sanjee Perera says finding meaningful and rewarding ways for mature Australians to contribute to their communities is important, both for their personal wellbeing and for the economy.
“While an ageing population presents many challenges, it’s important to remember that older people still have a lot to contribute to the community; life certainly doesn’t stop at 50,” Dr Perera says.
“As a society, we need to ensure older Australians have pursuits which support their potential to contribute to meaningful activities on their own terms.”
Mayor Hewitson says the [email protected] program will also encourage intergenerational learning. “This program is unique in that it is one of the first to support entrepreneurship across generations.”
“Working with our existing youth entrepreneurship program, not only do we hope to encourage shared experiences, ideas and knowledge, but we also hope to support cross-generational understanding – an essential factor for every successful and age-friendly community.”
The project launches today with a Community Pulse Survey to investigate community attitudes towards entrepreneurial activity among older people: Your Say Unley – Community Pulse Survey.