A recent article in Newsweek shows a study that says older workers are more likely to start a business than the younger generation. Despite what most people hear and see on the news about how many young people are ruling the business world like Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook or the Google founders most businesses are being started by older people. It seems as though the press has a fascination with younger people who start businesses.
The article says that “As it turns out, the average founder of a high-tech startup isn’t a whiz-kid graduate, but a mature 40-year-old engineer or business type with a spouse and kids who simply got tired of working for others, says Duke University scholar Vivek Wadhwa, who studied 549 successful technology ventures.”
It also states “According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in America has shifted to the 55–64 age group, with people over 55 almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34. And while the entrepreneurship rate has gone up since 1996 in most other age brackets as well, it has actually declined among Americans under 35.”
One reason for this is that older entrepreneurs don’t start businesses that are “easy to understand”. Young entrepreneurs sell hot web apps or simple online products that become the next big fad. Older entrepreneurs start companies that sell and produce things for other businesses. They produce things that support the framework of the business world which is not only more complicated but simply not as a fun to talk about in the media.
So how did this huge stereotype of older workers being less innovative come around? Is it the media’s fault? Are they actually less innovative? Or are their stable businesses just not as fun to talk about?