1. IntroductionMost people profile the “typical entrepreneur” to be less than 40 years old, highly mobile in previous jobs, or well educated (Hardawar, 2011). Little know that Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, sold paper cups and milkshake mixers until he was 52 (Nilssen, 2014). Nor would they describe a typical entrepreneur to be between 50 and 65 years old, having extensive personal networks and resources at their disposal. The elder entrepreneur, often referred to as senior entrepreneur or encore entrepreneur, is a highly relevant yet largely under-researched phenomenon. From a psychological perspective, further exploration on why senior entrepreneurs actively decide to leave a steady income, safe environment and anticipated future behind is worthwhile. Catalysed by demographic or country specific environment and individual behaviour, research has to be very country and group explicit.
Moreover, there are indications in literature that elderly people have different founding motives and pursue other approaches than their younger counterparts (Zhang, 2008). Countries like the United Kingdom or Sweden already recognized this change and have therefore implemented training and regional development programs (ILC, 2018). The aim of this thesis is to disregard the proven model of the inverse U-shaped curve. A first indicator is the behavior observed in the USA, where Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) has a flatter curve for entrepreneurs from 55-64 years old than it used to be. In the following, a first step is taken to show that this change is mirrored in Germany as well. 1.1 Definition of Senior EntrepreneurshipA senior entrepreneur is commonly classified as “a person aged 55 or over running their own business, be that as a company, partnership or on a self-employed basis, with a view to generation of income or capital value” (Small, 2011).
The official notation of a “senior entrepreneur” is not only coined by major discrepancy on the age range but also on the official notation and term usage. To illustrate, the GEM classifies “seniors” as being between 50-64 years old, whereas Dane Stangler from the Kaufmann foundation concluded in 2014 that they are “older Americans between 55-64, who are active entrepreneurs whose new businesses provide self-employment and employment opportunities to others.” Therefore, this paper disregards subjective discrete categorizations of senior entrepreneurs and focuses on the relationship between entrepreneurial intention and the age group from 55-64 (Tervo, 2014).1.2 Opportunity and Necessity driven entrepreneurship Since 2001 the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor discusses two different types of motivations for an entrepreneur to start a business. These are the drivers of felt necessity and perceived opportunity. The GEM made this distinction by asking people the question whether they were starting and growing their business to take advantage of a unique business opportunity or was it the best option available (GEM, 2001)BJB(S1 .Necessity entrepreneurship is the concept were an inconvenient initial situation leads to the decision to become self-employed.
Namely because of sudden job loss or age discrimination. Thus, these people were “pushed” into entrepreneurship by not having any other employment prospects.In theory, opportunity entrepreneurship is the concept where someone becomes self-employed due to opportunities available being self-employed. This is of higher relevance for this research, as it is very important to investigate the economic and non-economic factors behind the chase of new opportunities. For instance, the possible access to high(er) financial rewards and creative freedom. Moreover, why people actively decide to leave their job and steady income behind in order to become an entrepreneur. 2. Background LiteratureEncore entrepreneurship has been widely recognized in global research.
Especially the special topic report published by the GEM in 2017 showed that age influences total early-stage entrepreneurial activity globally. However, what makes studying entrepreneurship cross-nationally more difficult is that reliable and consistent data for a representative number of countries is still generally lacking. In addition, differences in national political and demographic setting have to be taken into account.