Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research offers insight into the behavior and activity of older entrepreneurs.

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Babson College’s Donna Kelley, a leading authority in scholarly research that explores entrepreneurial attitudes and activity of people around the world, addresses the National Conference on the Entrepreneurship Imperative for Engaging People 50 and Older today at The National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC.

Kelley is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson and a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the largest, most comprehensive study of entrepreneurship in the world. Now in its 15th year of operations, GEM has expanded to include 70 economies and is unique in studying a range of profile characteristics about those who start businesses. 

At the conference, Professor Kelley will report on recent GEM research that looks at the older entrepreneur. Some key findings:

  • When workforce participation levels are taken into account, entrepreneurship rates in the U.S. are similar across all age ranges, fluctuating between 15 and 20 percent for the 18-99 population.
  • The 45 and over age groups in the U.S. report the highest levels of established business ownership.
  • The older age groups report greater gender parity, with entrepreneurship rates among American women 55 years and older nearly equal to that of their male counterparts.
  • Americans age 45+ are as likely to see opportunities as the younger groups.
  • They have confidence in their capabilities for starting a business.
  • They have the lowest fear of failure rates, and they personally know other entrepreneurs.

The conference theme “Over 50, Start Anew!” brings together thought leaders from business, government, education, and non-profits to develop new approaches to tapping a talent pool of older adults with experience, expertise, seasoned judgment, and proven performance.

In addition to Babson’s Kelley, The National Conference will feature noted speakers and panelists, including:

  • Sergio Arzeni, director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship in Paris
  • Technology trailblazer Candace Johnson, co-founder of SES ASTRA and SES, the world’s pre-eminent satellite system
  • D. Bruce Merrifield, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs and chaired professor of entrepreneurship at The Wharton School
  • Zoltan Acs, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy and professor at George Mason University
  • Carl Schramm, an economist, president emeritus of the Kauffman Foundation, and Syracuse University professor

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society -- while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. For information, visit  

By Barbara Spies Blair,, 781-239-4621 | 11/07/2013 06:00