The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are partnering to help entrepreneurs older than age 50 start their own small business.

The alliance between the two organizations will provide counseling and training to the aspiring entrepreneurs.

The SBA training, mentors and counselors will be available online and the SBA and AARP expect to train 100,000 “encore entrepreneurs.”

“No matter what your age, if you have an idea or a business that’s ready to move to the next level, the SBA wants to make sure you have access to the tools you need to start and grow,” said Karen Mills, SBA Administrator. “We know that working side-by-side with AARP, we will be able to reach baby boomers and Americans over the age of 50 who have years of professional experience working for others and are ideally positioned to step out and become their own boss.”

Those baby boomers, she said, would then become job creators and drivers of economic growth in their communities.

There are 78 million baby boomers in the U.S. and in local economists project that there will be 82,546 boomers El Paso County in the next three years.

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According to the Boulder-based Center for Productive Longevity, boomers who are approaching retirement years want to continue working.

But, unemployment for the 50 and over group is higher than the rest of the population. And, boomers are turning to business ownership. Boomers like the idea of marching to their own drum; they are attracted to the idea of creating a business that is responsive to their own unique needs; and 80 percent of people 55 and older want to continue working, the center reports


SBA’s dedicated web page gives those seeking business ownership  an online self-assessment tool that will help potential small business owners understand their readiness for starting a business as well as information to help with business planning, shaping a winning business idea, professional counseling, financial services and information to find local resources in your area.

SBA and AARP also will jointly develop customized online courses, self-assessment tools, and a webinar series for older entrepreneurs.

“Many baby boomers are working beyond retirement age and choosing to stay active and engaged in the workforce,” Mills said.  “For many older entrepreneurs, starting a small business can be an opportunity to transform a lifetime hobby or interest or years of professional experience into a lucrative line of work.”