AARP and SBA Join Forces to Aid Older Entrepreneurs

Whether it's out of economic necessity or the desire to fulfill a dream, older Americans are increasingly considering starting their own businesses.

Now AARP and the Small Business Administration have joined together to make it easier for would-be entrepreneurs seeking information on how to start and fund a venture.  The joint initiative, announced Wednesday, gives online users quick access to SBA financing information, resources to build a small business and mentoring programs. Entrepreneurs' success stories will also be featured.

"Millions of Americans keep dreaming of owning their own business as a second or third career, using their creative talents to do productive work that also helps them gain economic stability as they move toward retirement," AARP CEO A. Barry Rand said in a statement. "This collaboration will combine SBA's formidable resources for entrepreneurs with AARP's vast membership and extensive promotional channels."

The SBA will provide the self-employment section of AARP's Website with more than 30 online training courses to support entrepreneurs as they start and grow small businesses. The site will include links to the  SBA Direct website, which can direct people to business counselors in their communities. The goal is to connect 100,000 Americans over age 50 with business-creating resources.

As older job seekers struggle to find work in a weak jobs market, many are turning to start-ups or buying franchises to try to boost their financial future. For many, self-employment may seem like the only option, experts say.

While it's great to dream, entrepreneurs need to keep their feet on the ground, too. They should think long and hard before sinking retirement savings into a business, just in case the venture doesn't have the hoped-for happy outcome.

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