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Silverpreneurs get a helping hand

Shropshire’s older generation of entrepreneurs is to get a helping hand thanks to a new initiative to help the over-50s set up their own businesses.

Silverpreneurs is a co-operative of business experts with funding from the Marches Growth Hub Shropshire. It has been set up as part of a drive to boost Shropshire’s economy by tapping into the skills and experience of older people who have small or start-up businesses and pay council tax or business rates to Shropshire Council.

Silverpreneurs will provide a structured programme of support, ideas, information and inspiration for those aged over 50 who are setting up or revitalising their business enterprises.

The exclusive new service is fully-funded by the Marches Growth Hub Shropshire and will offer each cohort of clients free business support in a three month long programme.

Emma Chapman, Marches Growth Hub Shropshire manager, said: “At the Growth Hub we continually look for new ways to support all businesses across the region. This is why we are happy to support The Silverpreneurs programme and community in offering the over 50s a collaborative and supportive environment to launch and develop their own businesses bringing their extensive experience and knowledge to the local economy.”

Co-founders Vernon Hogg and Chris Gough explained that the vision was to inspire innovation and aspiration amongst older people, particularly those from a corporate background, to set up or develop their own businesses.

The programme aims to support businesses with expertise and knowledge and at the same time provide sessions which were enjoyable and promoted social interaction and peer support between the members.

They said: “People aged 50 and above continue to face greater difficulty in accessing work-related training and re-entering employment than younger age groups. There is vast support for younger generations starting their business journey but very little for those from the experienced manager or director level with a desire to launch their own enterprise.”

The Silverpreneurs initiative is headed by a collective of “silverexperts” who will work with each group of businessmen and women to enhance and develop their business ideas. Over each three-month programme they will offer one-to-one and group sessions on business strategy, planning, getting ready to approach investors, sales and marketing and networking.

The group’s aim is to develop a network of silver entrepreneurs who can use their experience and skills to support each other in successful businesses. The Silverpreneurs team includes experts from strategic development, business growth and operations, psychology, accountancy and intellectual property.

The founders said: “The number of workers aged 50 and over in the UK stands at 10.4 million – an increase of 2.4 million in the last decade. Despite this, 28 per cent – 3.5 million – of 50 to 64 year-olds in the UK are not in work. That’s more than the entire population of Wales.

“That is a fantastic resource of skills and experience that is not being used to develop the kind of innovative business concepts that could boost Shropshire’s economy. It’s a way of giving back their life-long learning. At the same time, setting up their own businesses will benefit them as individuals in terms of living standards, wellbeing and protecting retirement savings.”

Pictured: Vernon Hogg and Chris Gough


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