Swinburne research to support Australia’s senior entrepreneurs

Saturday 4 October 2014

The east side of the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre building captured during a sunset.

Seniorpreneurs of Australia are set to benefit from a new research project that aims to engage seniors in entrepreneurship, start-ups and self-employment opportunities.

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre of Transformative Innovation have been awarded a national competitive research grant by National Seniors Australia to facilitate the study in collaboration with Dr Roxanne Zolin, Queensland University of Technology, and international partners.

Dr Alex Maritz, Swinburne University of Technology, is leading the study which will provide valuable insight into senior entrepreneurship in Australia by addressing an ageing population who are faced with an increasing retirement age.

“Our study will create an opportunity to put in place initiatives for seniors who are looking to participate in start-up activities, even those who are keen to give back to their community through active ageing,” Dr Maritz said.

Seniorpreneurship refers to people 55 and over starting a business, often for the first time. The type of business can vary from a fast-growth entrepreneurial venture, to a small business that aspires to generate a reasonable income and lifestyle for its owner.

“The concept of seniorpreneurship has integrated very well across engagement, community, learning and teaching and a national grant to carry out research will help shape this further,” Dr Maritz said. 

Internationally, senior entrepreneurship has found to be a driving force for job creation. However, literature and empirical studies around senior entrepreneurship in Australia is uncommon.

“The potential of senior entrepreneurship to prolong working lives and contribute to productive ageing in Australia is significant,” Dr Tim Adair, Director, National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre said.

“National Seniors Australia believes this research will inform policy makers and the community about how involvement of seniors in entrepreneurial activity can be facilitated.”

Dr Maritz’s research has identified entrepreneurship opportunities as a way for those aged 55 and over to stay active through purposeful work and start-up activities, while enhancing valuable skills and networks.

The research project, ‘Senior Entrepreneurship in Australia: Active Ageing and Extending Working Lives,’ is funded through the 2014 National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre Research Grants and is anticipated to run from August 2014 – June 2015.