Jackman-Atkinson: A new wave of entrepreneurship


By: Kate Jackman-Atkinson


I get lots of press releases but one this week caught my attention. It was sent out by BMO and was about “Boomerpreneurs”. It stood out at first because of the term, it wasn’t one I’d heard before, but beyond that, it posed some interesting questions for the future.

Canada’s population is ageing and as retirement approaches for baby boomers, both they and the rest of the population wonders what that will mean.  For those retiring, it means a lifestyle change and for the rest of us, it means fewer workers. What exactly this loss of workers will mean is still a big question.

 The figures show that a third of the Canadian workforce is predicted to retire over the next five years, that’s an astonishing number that will without a doubt have big ramifications over their lives as well as the economy in general. I’m sure we won’t see all of those workers actually retire, many will continue working because of desire or need. But I am sure many who do retire from their present careers will do just what the release talks about, become entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneur” is a pretty big catch all, describing someone owning and running a multi-million business employing many staff to someone selling baking from their kitchen. The more I think about it, the more retirees (and soon-to-be retirees) I know who would fall somewhere in that spectrum. They become consultants, or bed and breakfast owners, or run a home-based business.

For rural economies, which are heavily reliant on entrepreneurs, this should be a good thing.

Beyond the expected financial rewards, the release notes that self-employment appeals to boomers for a variety of reasons including independence, the chance to realize a long awaited dream and the desire to keep an active mind and the social interaction that comes from operating a small business. 

The release states that according to Industry Canada, 40 per cent of workers over 65 are self-employed. Interestingly, this is part of a larger trend and over the last decade, the number of self-employed workers, regardless of age, has increased by 17 per cent. Clearly more than just boomers are opening their own businesses and while the advice is aimed at “boomerpreneurs”, it’s equally useful for anyone looking at starting their own business.

Regardless of the size of the business, anyone looking at starting their own business should begin with research; this includes gathering industry insight as well as information about products and services to be offered, potential customers, price points and target sales for break even. Before opening the business, the entrepreneur should consider both the pros and cons and the motivation behind self-employment, increased flexibility, which can be countered by longer hours.  Finally, they should seek outside advice including financial and legal specialists.

Given the importance of small business to all of our communities, I look forward to this new wave of boomerpreneurs.