The means to an end is a term frequently used, but the end is frequently never reached. I believe people 50 and older need to remain productively engaged, and entrepreneurship is a viable option because the country is still faced with high unemployment and low economic growth. To further that message, we are holding a National Conference on the Entrepreneurship Imperative for People 50 and Older on November 7, 2013, in Washington, DC, but the end is not when people walk out the doors.
After thought leaders from the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors discuss various aspects of the entrepreneurship imperative, the Conference will conclude with agreement on a Call to Action. This action plan will set forth the goals the four sectors need to achieve individually and together. The end in this case will be achieving these goals through implementation of this Call to Action over a period of 12 months following the conference. The end result will be to enable many more people 50+ to become integrated into the mainstream of our society rather than sitting on the sidelines.
I agree with the saying, "You don't stop having fun when you grow older. You grow older when you stop having fun." Having been an entrepreneur for the past 44 years, I can't say it has always been fun, but being my own boss sure beats marching to someone else's drum in a large company with numerous policies and procedures that make no sense. For example, because many employees in a large New York-headquartered company where I worked were arriving late and leaving early, a policy was implemented requiring people at all levels to sign in when they arrived and sign out when they departed. My suggestion about developing an environment where people were enthusiastic about coming in early and staying late was given short shrift.
While I have put in long hours as an entrepreneur, I have done so with a feeling of enthusiasm about being my own boss and "doing my own thing." The one distinct advantage: Nobody can fire you!
New business creation has been the driver for increased employment and economic growth since America's inception. How about becoming a driver instead of a passenger?