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Older Warwickshire entrepreneurs offered help to start businesses

Aspiring ‘OLDERPRENEURS’ in Warwickshire are invited to join a free online school for older residents who want to start a business.

The Startup School for 50, 60 and 70 year olds in Coventry and Warwickshire, which starts on Friday May 6, is the brainchild of entrepreneur Suzanne Noble, 60, who came up with the idea for the free eight-week course as at the series of successive closures resulting in sharp increases in unemployment for the over 50s.

This is one of five courses taking place across the UK, with funding for the Warwickshire course provided by the European Social Fund (ESF) – and there are 30 free places up for grabs.

According to the latest labor market data from the Office for National Statistics, there are now 550,000 fewer people over the age of 50 working than before the start of the pandemic – the biggest drop in two years in at least 30 years. At the same time, many older people who were furloughed or made redundant during the lockdown chose not to return to work afterwards.

One in five people over the age of 50 are self-employed, more than any other age group – and Suzanne says that if the pandemic has affected the younger generation and the over-50s the most, it is the older generation. elderly who will find it difficult to get up in stride.

The online course includes more than 25 hours of video lessons from Suzanne and co-founder Mark Elliott, 57, as well as a weekly exploration and collaboration call designed to encourage participants to articulate their business ideas in a space safe and welcoming.

By the end of the course, participants will have improved their digital skills via Zoom, and many will have produced a short video to showcase their business.

Suzanne said: “Covid has irreversibly changed the labor market and made it even harder for workers over 50 to find jobs. We want to give seniors a platform through which they can take back control by starting their own business.

“When people think of start-ups, they tend to imagine high-growth tech companies started by twenty-somethings wearing Converse, but in reality, many people’s decision to start their own business is increasingly driven by necessity and to put food on the table.

“One of the positive things about the last two years is that it can make Britons realize that ‘it’s now or never’ and inspire them to start their own business or start their own business. Seniors need to remember that they have many transferable skills that are relevant in the modern workplace.

Suzanne advises people to take stock of what they love to do, especially so-called soft skills such as creative thinking, adaptability, communication, curiosity and how they can use them to their advantage.

She added: “It could involve them monetizing a lifelong hobby or building on the experience they have gained during their professional career. For many older entrepreneurs in our training, self-employment is also about flexibility and working around family responsibilities, which affect one in five people over 50.

Of previous participants in the course first held in London last year, nearly 40 per cent had made money from their business before completing the course – and all said they felt more confident running their own company after that.

Suzanne added: “While the media tends to portray ‘older entrepreneurship’ as an exciting and self-directed choice, our experience running the Startup School for Seniors is that it is primarily driven by factors external factors such as the inability to obtain full-time employment or employment. who is flexible around other responsibilities such as caregiving. I am extremely concerned about rising unemployment among people aged 50 and over now that furlough is long gone.

“We have seen a large increase in applications from people over 50 from those at risk of losing their jobs or who have been made redundant. Unfortunately, I suspect the worst is yet to come. Many employers consider older people to be tech-savvy and outnumbered, when in fact they are highly experienced, highly motivated and quick to adapt to new technologies.

“Our Startup School was specifically launched to help these people create their own business, where they can use the experience and skills they have acquired over 30 years or more in the workplace. They have a sense of street and an experience that many companies oddly don’t appreciate.

The Startup School for Seniors starts online on Friday May 6 and is free to anyone in Warwickshire aged 50 or over who is currently unemployed, has recently been made redundant or is economically inactive.

Visit www.startupschoolforseniors.com for more information.

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