Tahlequah Daily Press

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March 7, 2013

Think you're too old to start a new business? Think again.

The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world or the Yale students who secured a $15 million investment to further their website RapGenius.com made a lot of people believe that most of today’s successful startups are created by tech-savvy students in their 20s. In actuality, most successful businesses are started by entrepreneurs between the ages of 30 to 49, according to new research.

More mundane

Some might say these resarch findings will cause some who believe they're too old to start a business to put their fears away and actually start one.

According to the Kauffman Foundation and the Internet document company Legal Zoom, most of the startups in the United States that become successful aren’t those tech-based companies that have young and hip college students at the helm.

“Most of the successful startups are not the kind spawned in Silicon Valley," said the Director of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, Dane Stangler. “I don’t want to use the word mundane, but they’re run of the mill.”

Kauffman and Legal Zoom interviewed a total of 1,431 business owners and found that 57 percent of them started their businesses after their 20s and spent at least six years working in that industry before creating a startup.  

Additionally, 44 percent of the business owners started one company prior to the successful startup, and 52 percent created more than one business, researchers said.

Arguably the biggest reason why most successful startups are created by older people and not tech-savvy 20-somethings is because older entrepreneurs typically don’t have the same financial barriers that younger people do.

Seed money

Since older business owners tend to work in their industry for years and can save money, many of them don’t have to search for finances or ask their family members for seed money. The study showed only 20 percent  of business owners between the ages of 30 and 49 had to ask their families for money or had to get finances from a bank or home equity loan.

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