When it comes to the culture of a startup life, there is a widely-held misconception that startups are only for the younger generation, Millennials and Gen Z. Growing up in this era where digital transformation is the norm, these generations are known for being more digital-savvy than the elders. Meanwhile, owing to their late introduction to the new tech, most people might believe that aging Baby Boomers have no place in the startup environment. But is that true?
Born between 1945 and 1964, Baby boomers, now in their 50s to 70s, are supposed to be preparing to enter the retirement phase. However, Gallup survey reveals quite the opposite fact: many Baby Boomers are reluctant to retire.
Following their reputation as ‘live to work’ generation, the aging demographics plan to work longer than the traditional retirement at 65. Based on the study, only 27 percent Baby Boomers expect to retire 64 or younger. Meanwhile, 39 percent expect to retire at 66 or older. These statistics have made it clear that contrary to popular beliefs, great number of Baby Boomers and veterans are not retired yet.
So what are these veterans doing, when they’re not enjoying their retirement in peace?
If you think that the entrepreneurial world is largely dominated by Millennials, you should check the numbers again. Based on Kauffman Index Startup Activity, Millennials are no longer the main player in the startup business. The study notes changes in composition of new entrepreneurs by age, from 1996 to 2015.
In 1996, entrepreneurship was dominated by people aged 20 to 34, while only 14.8 percent people aged 55 to 64 were becoming entrepreneurs. However, the trend shifted in 2015, as there was a rising share of new entrepreneurs in the age group of 55 to 64. 24.3 percent of this group were likely to launch new venture during their retirement age.
In general, baby boomers have the qualifications to thrive in the highly-competitive startup environment. They are highly-educated, highly-motivated, and willing to work the extra mile to achieve their goals. Not to mention, baby boomers have gained longer experience, better expertise, and the wisdom compared to Millennials who are just freshly-graduated from college.
But can they keep up with Millennials in terms of technology usage?
Well, while it might take some time for them to learn how to post video on YouTube, or how to tweet the latest updates on Twitter, Baby Boomers have been working side by side with computer and high technology for at least twenty years. Possessing high entrepreneurial zest, there is strong reason why startup life is as appealing for veterans and Baby Boomers, as for the younger generations.
Not only stepping up to the role of startup founders and compete with other aspiring Millennials leaders, here are other key roles Baby Boomers can take to drive a successful and impactful startup:
- Startup advisory board
Possessing life-long experience, Baby Boomers have the wisdom that will be useful to guide a startup journey. Every startup needs a strong advisory board that will help them get through difficult crisis, as well as help finding them way to wider connection.
- Angel investor
Young entrepreneurs might have the passion, energy, and ideas to run an ambitious startup. However, a startup won’t survive without solid financial support. It leaves a great opportunity for Baby Boomers to get into the game as an angel investor. Not only supporting economically, Baby Boomers can focus on giving advices and mentoring the founders as well.
- Executive positions
Every founder needs a trusted and experienced partner who will help navigate the venture into the right direction. Baby Boomers can jump in the bandwagon as co-founder or other executive positions, as they will be a great partner to discuss strategy and future plan.
So what do you think about involving more veterans and Baby Boomers in the young-spirited startup space? Share your thoughts with us!