lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

Is age an advantage for entrepreneurs?

This is a BBC video clip aired in early June which touches on the topic of unemployment in older workers and how older entrepreneurs can be the solution to the economic growth.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video clip and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

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1 What age bracket and what kind of business are we likely to associate the word 'entrepreneur' with?
2 What does 'forty' refer to?
3 How old was Adam Shuter when he founded Exact Logistics?
4 Why is it more difficult to start a business at that age?
5 Why is it easier?
6 What made Tom Cullingford start his business Rubber4Roofs?
7 Where had he worked previously?
8 According to Tom Cullingford, what is the main reason why people change?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

The word entrepreneur these days tends to conjure up an image of someone in their early twenties, running a software start-up and selling it to millions. But the average age of people starting high-growth business in America is increasing to forty, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a think-tank especialising in businesses. But what about for Europe, where economies are finding it tough to return to growth? Could old entrepreneurs be the answer? So if you’re an older entrepreneur, is it easier or more difficult to start a business? Well, I have come up here, to Exact Logistics in Rugby, to ask an entrepreneur who started this company.
Exact Logistics really was started because I was made redundant from my previous job and we had an opportunity to start a small business on our own, as I really just didn’t want to work for any other company ever again other than myself. I was 50 when I started the business.  And I think it makes it harder in some respects because perhaps you don’t have the same level of energy, but I think it makes easier in that you’ve got more experience, and I think bringing all that experience together definitely makes this a more successful business.
This is Rubber4Roofs up in Coventry, a business started by Tom Cullingford back in 2008, and he did it then precisely because he was an older entrepreneur, and he had commitments like a family and a mortgage to pay. Tom was a property developer who previously worked in the car industry, so when the bottom fell out of the mortgage market he saw a niche selling rubber to make water proof roofs on homes.
I suppose there are more entrepreneurs now in this country that have been born out of hard times than are out of good times. It’s often necessity that drives that change in what we do. As a slightly older entrepreneur who’s had those life experiences arguably it’s easier for me to see the pitfalls and ensure that the business is a success long-term.
So for countries looking to jump start their economies, it could be that older more risk-aware entrepreneurs provide a more stable return to future growth.
Philip Hampsheir, BBC News.