Mary-Jane Kingsland - Silver start ups are boosting the economy

I was delighted to read the good news story about Ditchingham based Mike Daniels in Wednesday's EDP Business.

Mike is part of a growing trend for 'Silver Start Ups'; namely people of older years, shunning the notion of compulsory retirement and starting a new business. Indeed, research reveals a 18.7pc increase in start up business amongst the over 65's and a 10.8pc increase in the number of so called Silver Entrepreneurs, defined as aged between 55 and 64.

Simply Business - a business insurance provider - recently analysed 350,551 requests for quotations and found that the over 55's account for 7pc of all new business start ups.

The 25 - 34 year age group still accounts for the highest number of start ups (35pc) but the greatest growth area is amongst those in the older age bracket. Moreover, new start up business now accounts for 46.9pc of insurance applications, showing an annual growth rate of 2.99pc for the period 2010 - 2011.

This compares with drops in 2008 of -3.6pc and -0.14pc in 2009. Moreover there is now greater start up growth and activity outside of London; historically the UK's entrepreneurial hotspot.

Whilst the greater London area enjoyed a 3pc increase in activity - in itself a triumph given the trading climate - the Midlands, South East and South West saw an average increase of around 4pc. With the exception of Northern Ireland, our own Eastern region topped the UK charts with a 4.52p increase in entrepreneurial activity. These heartwarming figures will come as no surprise to anyone involved in the support and encouragement of start up business locally. We enjoy a plethora of skills and experience which offer targeted advice, facilitate networking and provide results driven education.

As a business mentor and one of 50 UK Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors I have first hand experience of start ups - some of which could be described as Silver. My own anecdotal evidence supports the view that a more flexible attitude to work and career planning, coupled with increasing life expectancy and the shifting sands of pensions: public and private, have encouraged many to consider a revitalised career as they approach the nominal age of retirement.

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There are many reasons for wanting to launch a new business later in life and they may not all be financial. You may have dreamt of being your own boss and you may decide to enjoy more control of your remaining working days but, whatever the reason; Silver Start Ups are boosting the UK economy considerably.

Mary-Jane is a Business Mentor working in Norfolk. You can contact her at