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Considering entrepreneurship in old age? Here’s help

One in four people age 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

We hear a lot about young entrepreneurs and the many programs designed to encourage college students and 20-somethings to build their own businesses. But what about not-so-young entrepreneurs?

If you're over age 50 and want to start a business, or if you're nearing retirement age but facing up to the fact that you won't have enough savings to stop working, Tuesday is your day. The Small Business Administration and AARP have partnered to celebrate National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day on October 2. The event is part of a broader effort by the two organizations to promote entrepreneurship among individuals ages 50 and older.

According to SBA, 25 percent of people aged 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. More than 60 percent of Americans plan to work during their "retirement" years. Whether that's because their retirement savings disappeared during the recession, their investment portfolios have dwindled, or they just want to keep active, SBA says small business ownership is a good option for older Americans and that small business owners with long-term counselors see bigger sales, hire more workers, and last longer.

SBA and AARP offices across the country will host events today designed to help older people who are interested in launching businesses learn how having a business mentor could be useful. "Encore entrepreneurs" will have a chance to be matched with successful business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance.

Events will include 5-minute speed mentoring sessions and lunches during which would-be entrepreneurs can learn from successful business owners. The events also will help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors from SBA's network of Small Business Development Centers, Women's Business Centers, and SCORE chapters who can help throughout the life of an entrepreneur's business.

Can't attend a live event? Check out the SCORE website for free, confidential online mentoring. Search for SCORE email mentors by area of business, industry, or skill and browse their profiles to find the one that's right for your business.

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