Mainer testifies at Senate hearing on ‘encore entrepreneurs’

Sen. Susan Collins shakes hands with Portland resident Elizabeth Isele on Wednesday at a Senate hearing on senior entrepreneurs.

Sen. Susan Collins shakes hands with Portland resident Elizabeth Isele on Wednesday at a Senate hearing on senior entrepreneurs.

A Maine entrepreneur was scheduled on Wednesday to appear before a joint Senate hearing to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing seniors who start their own businesses.

Elizabeth Isele, a part-time Portland resident, spearheads two organizations that provide resources to “encore entrepreneurs,” which is a term I like for individuals planning to start a business after earlier career endeavors. She is co-founder of “Senior Entrepreneurship Works,” a Portland-based not-for-profit created to help seniors who want to start a business. She is also founder of SavvySeniorsWork.com, a blog dedicated to senior entrepreneurs.

Isele is testifying before a joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Senate Special Committee on Aging, of which Sen. Susan Collins is ranking member.

The hearing, titled “In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior Entrepreneurship,”  was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today.

“Most seniors don’t want to spend their retirement just on leisure, and many need to earn extra money to help make ends meet,” Collins said in a statement. “Despite this, seniors may not know that running their own business is a realistic option.”

Some may think of entrepreneurship as a young person’s game, picturing Red Bull-fueled software engineers and designers working late into the night and sleeping under their desks as they build their startup. But that’s not the case.

In fact, over the past decade individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 have the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity, according to a 2009 report by the Kauffman Foundation.

“Senior entrepreneurs are launching new businesses, stimulating job creation and growth, and boosting prosperity for all age groups,” Isele wrote in her most recent blog post on SavvySeniorsWork.com. “It’s time to stop the ‘senior’ gloom and doom. This is not, as too many espouse, a ‘silver tsunami.’ It is, rather, a ‘golden dividend!’”

 

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Whit Richardson

About Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.