The Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange launches programme targeted at mature entrepreneurs looking to start their own business

– 44% of over 50s interested in attending programme according to recent research


Pictured at the launch are Anne Connolly, Chief Executive, ISAX, Jean Condron, businesswoman and owner of Hats by Jean, Terenure and David Merriman, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland.

The Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX) today announced the launch of an exciting new programme targeted at mature entrepreneurs aged 55 plus who are seeking to put their lifetime experience, talents and wisdom to good use by starting their own business. Called Ingenuity, the programme, which is sponsored by Bank of Ireland, will be delivered by Local Enterprise Offices and the DCU Ryan Academy.

The increase in life expectancy, together with the reduction in the size of the working population has meant that demographic ageing has become one of the key issues facing policymakers. In 2011, Ireland had the highest proportion of young people (21.3%) in the EU and the lowest proportion of older people (11.7%). However, this will change significantly over the next 25 years’ when the number of people aged over 65 years will be between 1.3 and 1.4 million compared with 460,000 in 2006. Self-employment and entrepreneurship offers many potential benefits for individuals and the economy in general.

Recent research undertaken by Amarach revealed that 44% of respondents over 50 years of age would be interested in participating in a course designed to help them develop ideas and skills to start their own business. More than one in five over 50s had some experience of setting up their own business and 17% of those with experience set up their business when aged over 50.

Commenting Anne Connolly, Chief Executive, ISAX said: “There is a growing population of healthy mature people with the skills, financial resources and time available to contribute to economic activity, whilst also providing social benefits. Older entrepreneurs generally possess more developed networks, industry experience and stronger financial security compared with their younger counterparts. The programme has been specially tailored to meet their specific needs, building on the advantages they bring, whilst also addressing the challenges that they face”.

David Merriman, Head of Enterprise Development, Bank of Ireland said: “As the No 1 Bank for business in Ireland, we are delighted to sponsor this programme and to be at the forefront in encouraging mature entrepreneurs to start their own business. We have an extensive enterprise programme of activity in place to support business throughout the life cycle, much of which will be equally relevant in providing support to the mature entrepreneur”.

Terenure based businesswoman Jean Condron said: “You are never too old to start something new. With the confidence gained from experience and the encouragement from family and friends, I have gradually grown ‘hats by Jean’ to become a widely recognised millinery brand and developed a family business in our boutique ‘Feather & Frill’ with my daughter”.
Participants interested in the Ingenuity programme have two options:

  • Start Your Own Business Programme – for both lifestyle and fast-growth businesses, run in collaboration with the Local Enterprise Offices in Limerick, Fingal and Dublin. This programme will take place over eight weeks starting in September 2016 and will cost €200.

Participants will be taken through the key stages of developing and validating their business idea, testing it with their target market, prototyping, costings, marketing, sales, testing with potential investors and preparing a pitch deck. The programme will culminate with a live pitch to potential investors.

  • The DCU High Potential Start-up pre accelerator programme – for those with ambition to establish a large, fast-growth internationally trading company that will be run by the DCU Ryan Academy in Dublin. It will be delivered over a six-week period starting in September 2016.

This programme has been designed for entrepreneurs who are seeking to take their skills, experience and ambition to the next level. The structure aims to refresh business management knowledge and identify market growth opportunities and investment readiness. It will discuss concepts and strategies on sustaining growth in a changing economy through modules that will draw on the themes of innovation, scaling-up and sustainable growth. Participants will also have an opportunity to pitch to an audience of potential investors.

Free information seminars providing more detail on both programmes to include the application process and selection criteria will be held in the Savoy Hotel, Limerick on Tuesday 17 May from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. and in Dublin on Thursday 19 May in the House of Lords, Bank of Ireland, College Green from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Those interested in attending should register at:

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