What Is Seniorpreneurship?

Seniorpreneurship is rising and rising. In Australia and Canada, the numbers of Seniorpreneurs are increasing and it seems like this will continue as people are not necessarily considering retirement. Seniorpreneurship is alive and well. Read a great example of a seniorpreneur below.

Who are Seniorpreneurs?

Seniorpreneurs are usually defined as people over the age of 50 who are involved in starting a business.

Seniorpreneurship is alive and well. Seniorpreneurs have the experience, knowledge and networks – and have interesting projects.

They are also known as senior entrepreneurs, silverpreneurs, latepreneurs, mature-aged-preneurs – the list goes on. Just don’t assume they are ‘retired’.

34% Of All New Business In Australia

Seniorpreneurs or senior entrepreneurship, however, is alive and well – and is growing.  It has been reported that it represents approximately 34% of all new businesses in Australia.

The report: ‘Senior entrepreneurship in Australia: Active ageing and extending working lives’, outlines why senior entrepreneurship is growing quickly.  It also mentions the positive impact of Senior entrepreneurs.  They  ‘have more developed networks, substantial industry/business experience, superior technical and managerial skills and, most often, a stronger financial position than their younger counterparts’ – to name a few characteristics of this entrepreneurial group.

The rise of Seniorpreneurs in Australia and Canada shows their passion for business

We have been writing and talking about this Seniorpreneurs for a long time.

However, it’s not just in Australia that Seniorpreneurs are making inroads.  Canada, for example, has experienced a growth in the number of entrepreneurs aged 50+. ‘

The Rise Of Senior Entrepreneurship In Canada

The Status of Senior Entrepreneurship in Canada report said:  ‘Since 1990, the number of entrepreneurs 50+ more than doubled, and the trend continues to rise. As our population ages, and with the baby boom cohort accelerating that growth, there is every reason to believe that there will be exponential growth in the number of older adults who launch their own business enterprises after the age of 50’.

Tom Gibson
Photo: www.havlar.com

One of the people leading the way in Canada is seniorpreneur Tom Gibson.  After completing an entrepreneur program for seniors at the Community Innovation iLab in Oshawa, the business consultant was approached by one of his sons to help out with an idea. I like this: Tom was asked by one of his sons because: ‘Daryl thought that I (Tom the Seniorpreneur) could bring value to the journey based on my years of business experience’.

A Family Business

Read more about this entrepreneurial family, below (yes, the whole family is now involved) plus read Tom’s warning about not expecting things to happen overnight, and how expensive being a seniorpreneur can be. However, read also Tom’s comments about ‘not leaving anything on the ice’.

Daryl Gibson
Photo: www.havlar.com

How did you come up with the idea?
Actually, the idea came from my eldest son Daryl.  He works in law enforcement here in Toronto and he sees the need for better “mobile security” every day. Snatch and grab theft is a huge problem (as measured by crime statistics) and he personally talks to victims of crime on a daily basis.

Alas, he was personally victimized when he was playing hockey and his unattended valuables were stolen from the change room when his team was competing on the ice, a common problem here in Canada where athletes are separated from their valuables (wallet, smartphone, keys, medication, jewellery etc) when competing. He thought to himself, “wouldn’t it be neat if I could take a small and portable safe with me when I’m playing hockey, conceal it in my sports bag, and tether it to something structural so I’m not a victim of snatch and grab theft”.  (Reference our Blogs here and here ) And thus, the Havlar journey begins.

How long has the HavlarGo-Safe taken to develop?  
The original idea happened over 2 years ago when my son Daryl started to explore portal safe prototypes that could work as an “accessory to his hockey bag”. 

Person's hands opening a mobile safe with keys in it on a bench
HavlarGo Safe
Tom and Marianne Gibson
Photo: www.havlar.com

Suddenly we all realized how big the market opportunity was for such an invention and the scope of the job seemed to grow by the day.  That’s when Daryl thought that I (Tom the Seniorpreneur) could bring value to the journey based on my years of business experience and simply because I was semi-retired and looking for something extra to keep my days occupied.  It was also about this time that we decided that this would be a family affair and that Daryl, his brother Kyle, myself and my wife Marianne (also a senior) would make this all happen.

Challenges And Rewards

What was the biggest challenge?
 Actually there are two biggest challenges when it comes to introducing a new product into the market place.  Inventing the HavlarGo-Safe product was actually the easier of the two.  This challenge involved exploring the intellectual property considerations such as patents and trademarks, building and iterating on multiple design prototypes, sourcing manufacturing, exploring financing options and building the business plan to understand what our supply chain and landed costs would be for the Go-safe.  

The second and more challenging part was creating the Havlar brand from scratch and finding sales channels and customers. This part involved building www.havlar.com, creating digital assets (product videos and product photography), understanding our target market personas, crafting our value proposition, hiring an advertising agency to assist with our Facebook ad campaign, retaining a marketing consultant, building our social media presence on Facebook and Instagram and generally getting the word out. This is where the CBC News exposure (which happened quite by accident) has helped us tremendously

And the most rewarding part of the process?
Hands down, the best and most rewarding part is working with my sons, friends and family members on this journey.  Creating a family enterprise and perhaps a legacy that will exist long after I’m gone will be a bonus.  We are learning so much together and spend considerable time together to strategize and get stuff done. 

Kyle Gibson
Photo: www.havlar.com

As well, my son Kyle has discovered he possesses some latent skill as a Blogger and a digital marketeer, and Daryl as a sales and marketeer.  Skills that we’re all learning that help us to adapt to an online and global economy.  I’ve taken on a full-time consulting job again to assist with paying the bills as well.  Because we have decided to “boot-strap” our startup, we all have our day jobs to pay the bills and spend spare hours evening and weekends to bring Havlar to life.  

Where do you see it being sold?
 We will be selling direct to consumers shortly on Indiegogo (a crowdfunding platform) which features new product innovations and of course also on our Shopify enabled website

We are actively exploring retail channels and have active interest from a couple of “big box” retailers who sound like they will buy once we have inventory on-hand.  Finally we are exploring a “product licensing” with a global sports bag manufacturer.  But for starters, we will be selling on-line.

Do you network with other seniorpreneurs?
Yes, I stay in touch with the Seniorpreneurs that I met at the Community Innovation iLab Centre in Oshawa, Ontario.  Kind of a mutual support and networking group where we share experiences and progress on our respective businesses.  Also, most of my immediate professional network are now seniors as well – People that I have met over the years, many who are entrepreneurs, that graduated into senior status, who have provided invaluable insights and support on our journey.

What Are Some Tips For Becoming A Seniorpreneur?

Do you have any tips for others who may be considering developing a product/become a ‘seniorpreneur’?
My advice, don’t underestimate the time and costs involved in bringing a new product to market.  We have invested ~$80k (Canadian) and haven’t sold anything yet.  So this can get risky, drain your retirement nest egg with no guarantees of a return on your investment. 

“You’ll find that a lot of people will try and talk you out of your entrepreneurial venture; you’re too old, don’t waste your money, that idea is stupid, that will never work, you don’t know anything about this and on and on.  we’ve heard them all.  Filter that stuff out, consider the source and take time to listen to your inner voice.  My inner voice was telling me “don’t live with any regrets”, and as they say in hockey “don’t leave anything on the ice”, when you’re done, know that you’ve given it your best shot, no regrets! *

Also, don’t under-estimate the personal energy required to get things done.  This is a full-time commitment that requires reasonable good health and youthful stamina. 🙂  So, stay young, stay active, stay engaged.

*Tom’s comments above, about ‘dream stealers’ are important. Onward Seniorpreneurs!

Tom says ‘I’d be happy to network with any new friends from down under’

You can contact Tom via his website:   www.havlar.com

Thanks very much Tom. We wish you and your team every success.

**Have another look at this great invention on youtube by clicking on this link here

Contact Tom and the Havlar team right here

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