Is ‘olderpreneur’ a patronising term?

Is 'olderpreneur' a patronising term?There are a lot of us older entrepreneurs around these days, you know. In fact, we are such a rapidly increasing group, that a brand new label has emerged to describe us – ‘olderpreneurs’.

I’m in a bit of a quandary about this

…because, on one hand it IS a neat short-hand description of my particular demographic but on the other hand, I doubt if any one of us would actually use the term to describe ourselves. But more to the point- I just don’t like it!

And another thing…

Watch out I’m on a roll now – whenever I see the word used in the media as in, ‘a new breed of  ‘olderpreneurs’ are starting up their own businesses’… it’s always in inverted commas. There’s something about the inverted commas which feels slightly mocking and a tad patronising. If we as a group, are worthy of a brand new name, can’t we drop the inverted commas? Now, before you tell me I’m being over-sensitive, perhaps I should say at this point that I have similar feelings about the use of ‘mumpreneur’ too which is also, more often than not, accompanied by those demeaning inverted commas.

On the plus side…

At least we know we’re part of a very real and growing phenomenon when they need to make up a whole new word to describe us. And we older entrepreneurs certainly are a real and growing phenomenon. With a wealth of experience, talent and insight, built up over our careers, our group has the highest rate of business success and longevity, with over 70% of start-ups lasting more than three years, compared with 28% for younger entrepreneurs (or should that be ‘youngerpreneurs’?!)

I am blessed to work with many women older entrepreneurs and I support anything that brings attention to the fantastic contribution they make to others and the economy through the businesses they run – and if that means embracing the term olderpreneur, then maybe I just need to get over it.


Is ‘olderpreneur’ a patronising term? — 4 Comments

  1. I have to admit that olderpreneurs is a phonetically pleasing term but I’m not sure about it either: Just as we call our over 65s Old Age Pensioners, they are senior citizens in the USA, a far more pleasant and respectful term.

    There was an infographic doing the rounds the other day using the term “silver startups” but that only applies to new business for our most senior business people…

    So what’s the alternative? Seniorpreneurs? Silverpreneurs? Ultrapreneurs? Sometyhing else, maybe…?

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Paul. It seems to me that they’ve gone a bit ‘preneur’-crazy trying to label and categorise people who probably never think of themselves as being entrepreneurs of any type. Hmm…. I wonder how Richard Branson would feel about being described as seniorpreneur or a silverpreneur…

  2. My pleasure, Karen, good post.

    Indeed, the term entrepreneur seems to be overly popular these days – I run a small business part-time as well as my full-time role but I have never once considered myself an entrepreneur. But then I have also steered clear of calling myself a businessman too even though I do business…

    As for Mr Branson, I can almost see him cringing at the term and getting a team of his finest minds to come up with a new expression…

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