Often the image of a modern day entrepreneur is someone who is a college dropout with a high inclination towards technology, social media and smartphones – typically a male in his 20s! However, recent study shows that over half of the upcoming entrepreneurs from last year were all 40 and older.
According to the study conducted by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit, entrepreneurs who were over 40, faced “age bias” on the part of investors and clients.
The reason: older entrepreneurs have a tough time getting the attention of investors, especially in the Internet and mobile industry. Many believe that older entrepreneurs—folks who really didn’t grow up with smartphones and social media—don’t have the zeal or intuition that is necessary to make the brilliant viral consumer-tech companies and apps of tomorrow.
The flip side: Younger entrepreneurs, who have never even had a job, find themselves sought after by investors, venture capitalists and all sorts of other sources of capital, apparently because in this new internet savvy economy, young founders make up for their lack of corporate and management experience with a mastery of the new world of technology, therefore attracting interest from investors.
How important is experience and reputation?
If experience and reputation are the foundation of an entrepreneur’s skill set, then age will eventually become a true advantage. One crucial advantage of age is the experience gained from years within one or more industries. Not to mention, building a solid reputation takes years, and older entrepreneurs are at an advantage as they have established reputations within their space.
Innovation has no age requirements!
As we all know that the key element of innovation is to challenge authority and break rules, so today’s youth doesn’t hesitate to question the norms, think outside the box and come up with unthinkable ideas, but such ideas are not the only foundation of a successful enterprise. Its more about translating these innovative ideas into successful ventures, for which you would need to manage teams, understand markets, collaborate and obtain financing, all of which can only be achieved with experience and time.
So the point is that young ideas go hand-in-hand with appropriate industry experience and market knowledge. In the coming years, we will see a shift in the age group of entrepreneurs. Early 30s seems to be the ideal age as it comes with experience, adequate industry knowledge and young mindset.