The second time around

U.S. Small Business Association, AARP to host workshop in Falls
by Jeff Pederson of The Review staff


LYNN PERSSON discusses how she started Terra Experience in retirement with the help of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Madison. Also shown on the panel (left to right) are Kim Erb, owner of Ameriprint Apparel in Sun Prairie; Neil Lerner of SBDC; Jonathan Sandbrook of Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation in Madison and Barbara Bousted, owner of Mary’s Daughter bill-paying service for seniors and veterans in Madison at a U.S. Small Business Association-AARP Workshop in Madison in 2012. The U.S. Small Business Association Wisconsin District Office and the AARP will host a free workshop for current or prospective midlife entrepreneurs over the age of 50 titled, “Starting or Growing a Business,” Wednesday, April 9, at the Heritage House Conference Center at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls. — Submitted photo LYNN PERSSON discusses how she started Terra Experience in retirement with the help of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Madison. Also shown on the panel (left to right) are Kim Erb, owner of Ameriprint Apparel in Sun Prairie; Neil Lerner of SBDC; Jonathan Sandbrook of Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation in Madison and Barbara Bousted, owner of Mary’s Daughter bill-paying service for seniors and veterans in Madison at a U.S. Small Business Association-AARP Workshop in Madison in 2012. The U.S. Small Business Association Wisconsin District Office and the AARP will host a free workshop for current or prospective midlife entrepreneurs over the age of 50 titled, “Starting or Growing a Business,” Wednesday, April 9, at the Heritage House Conference Center at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls. — Submitted photo Once upon a time, hitting your late 50s and early 60s signaled leaving working life behind for good and finding a comfortable rocking chair or heading to the golf course to live out your retirement years.

For more and more people, that’s simply not the case anymore.

According to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Wisconsin District Office Public Information Officer Shirah Rachel Apple, 63 percent of Americans plan to continue to work in retirement and 1 in 4 people between the ages of 44 and 70 are interested in learning about starting their own business.

In addition, a recent AARP survey found that nearly one-quarter of those who are self-employed, a large share of small businesses, are 60 years old and older. Another AARP survey found that 10 percent of wage earners planned to start a business after they retired.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has found retirement-age people starting businesses at the fastest clip of any age group.

Apple says starting a small business is a good option for people that wish to work and stay active after retirement.

“More people these days are planning to work after they retire, and many of them are looking to small business ownership as an option,” Apple said. “People over the age of 50 are good candidates to own their own business. After putting in 30 years or more in the workplace, a lot of them have acquired many of the skills needed to be a small business owner. They just need a little bit of help. That’s where we come in.”

For that reason, the U.S. Small Business Association Wisconsin District Office has joined with AARP to host a free workshop for current or prospective midlife entrepreneurs over the age of 50 titled, “Starting or Growing a Business,” Wednesday, April 9, at the Heritage House Conference Center at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon, with a light breakfast included.

“The goal of the workshop is to match what we call ‘encore entrepreneurs,’ people who are retired or near retirement that are looking to start their own business, with successful local businesses and resource organizations for advice and assistance,” Apple said. “The SBA and AARP have formed a national partnership to lead this initiative and these workshops are a way to get current and budding business owners a chance to get together with mentor organizations and other midlife entrepreneurs that have been successful.”

At the workshop, new or present encore entrepreneurs will hear presentations and have opportunities to network with experienced mentors from SBA’s network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), and SCORE chapters, who can offer assistance throughout the life of an entrepreneur’s business.

“There will be two parts to the workshop,” Apple said. “The first part will feature a panel discussion with our SBA district director and representatives from SBA’s network of mentors, including SCORE, which as a local chapter in Sheboygan.

“The second half will allow entrepreneurs time to network with representatives from mentor organizations and established small business entrepreneurs,” she said. “The mentors are retired executives and small business people, many of which have good success stories to share. A few of them have gone from starting a business in their own garage to becoming multimillionaires.”

Once a relationship is formed with a mentor organization, mid-life entrepreneurs are able to access business plans, technical assistance, marketing, social media and financing options, including how to acquire a loan.

“Long-term partnerships that can be formed, which can be very beneficial to an entrepreneur that doesn’t know what to do start a business or develop a successful business,” Apple said. “Through the SBA, financial assistance and loan guarantees are made available, which of course can be of great help in getting a business off the ground.

“It has been proven that small business owners with long-term counselors see bigger sales, hire more workers and have more longevity,” she said. “The counseling from mentors is free of charge, which makes it even more attractive to prospective encore entrepreneurs.”

Apple says the Sheboygan Falls event aims to build on successful SBA-AARP workshops held in Milwaukee in 2012, as well as Eau Claire and Madison in 2013.

“Our first workshop in 2012 drew 75 people and the last two in Eau Claire and Madison had around 50 people,” Apple said. “We have been very happy with the turnout and we have heard a number of success stories from people that connected with a mentor, who helped them either launch or grow their business.”

Apple hopes the Sheboygan Falls workshop will draw similar interest.

“Our goal is to have at least 40 to 50 people attend the Sheboygan Falls workshop,” Apple said. “We have been trying to spread out across the state and we haven’t hit this area yet. We already have around 20 people committed to attend, so we have high hopes for a good turnout.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a federal government agency started in 1958. The Wisconsin District Office is one of 68 district offices located across the country.

Apple says attending the workshop could change a person’s outlook on business ownership, prompting them to turn a hobby, interest or passion into a moneymaker.

“These workshops give people an opportunity to think about themselves in a different light,” Apple said. “They get to see that retirement is not sitting in a rocking chair. It is much easier to do anything when you have support, especially something as big has owning a business. This is a wonderful resource for anyone over 50 interested in being an encore entrepreneur.”

While the event is free, seating is limited.

The Bull is located at One Long Drive just off of State 28 in Sheboygan Falls.

For more information on encore entrepreneurship, go to www.sba.gov/encore


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