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Baby boomer generation transforms UK’s business landscape in a decade, reveals Barclays Business

  • The number of businesses run by the over-55s has increased 63 per cent in the past decade1
  • The fastest-growing age group of business owners over this period is the over-65s, with a whopping 140 per cent increase
  • Liz Earle, MBE, has been brought in to help advise the bank on how best to serve the needs of this booming mature entrepreneur market

Barclays Business has found that far from being ready to retire, many over-50s and over-60s are proving it’s never too late to fulfil ambitions of being their own boss. Barclays data reveals there has been a 140 per cent increase in the number of business owners aged 65 and over in the last decade - the fastest-growing age group.


Over the same ten years, businesses run by those aged 25-34 grew by a much more modest 23 per cent; firmly challenging the presumption that the world of start-ups is dominated by those in their twenties. In fact, the data suggests that entrepreneurial spirit increases with age: entrepreneurs over the age of 55 grew by 63 per cent over the same period.

What’s more, new businesses set up by the over-55s are having a significant impact – Barclays estimates that start-up businesses set up by those aged 55+ in 2015, contributed over £7billion2 to the UK economy in the following year.


Barclays has identified an opportunity for the industry to better cater for the needs of these ‘olderpreneurs’, so the bank invited Liz Earle on board as an Entrepreneurial Business Adviser. With her extensive business credentials, and her experience in setting up enterprises at both a young age and later in life, Barclays asked Liz to join forces to advise how better to support its ‘olderpreneur’ customers, with particular focus on the opportunities and challenges faced by business-owners in the 50 plus age bracket.


Liz Earle commented: “The older generation adds so much value to the workplace in any context – bringing a wealth of experience and industry contacts to the table. I’m not surprised to see so many budding entrepreneurs of my generation, but it’s great to see them taking the plunge in later life, rather than feeling it’s too late.”

Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking, commented: “It is fascinating to see this new emerging trend of ‘older’ entrepreneurs. At a time when they could be planning for retirement, the over-55s are utilising their skills by putting their wealth of experience and business knowledge to use, breaking down stereotypes in the process.

“We are passionate about supporting companies of all shapes, sizes and ages no matter where they are in their journey. That said, we are keen to focus on this growing segment of entrepreneurs and provide the support they need to make their business ideas a reality. Working with Liz brings a fresh perspective to the needs of the over 50s in business, to help us deliver first-class service.”


Based on her wealth of experience during her career, Liz Earle has shared her top tips for those looking to start their own business in later life.


Liz Earle’s top 10 business tips for mature entrepreneurs3:

  1. Have confidence in your abilities
  2. Know your subject- it is key
  3. Know your business strategy inside out
  4. Get tech savvy
  5. Always take your time, even if you feel like it is limited
  6. Look after your wellbeing
  7. Trust your gut instinct
  8. Find your passion
  9. Prioritise what is important to you
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help


Barclays has announced it is running a minimum of 1500 free digital training events across the UK, hosted by its Business Digital Eagles, offering advice for those who have set up and are running their own business. The sessions will be focusing specifically on technology in businesses, helping build confidence and educating business owners on how to prevent fraud and stay safe online. Visit or speak to a business manager for more information about these sessions.

Notes to editors

*High res photos and case studies available on request*

Growth in number of business owners by age (2006-2016)


Under 25






Percentage increase (2006-2016)












Average: 55+








Source: Based on data of 1.1million business owners whose small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses actively banked with Barclays at the end of 2016. The Barclays Business data tracks age distribution. This data is nationally representative of the SME business market in England & Wales. Data sourced August 2017.


Regions with the fastest growing number of business owners aged 55+ (from 2006 to 2016)

  • London 89%
  • South East 66%
  • North East 60%
  • Wales 60%
  • North West 58%
  • East of England 58%
  • East Midlands 57%
  • West Midlands 53%
  • South West 52%
  • Yorkshire 52%

Business sectors with the highest growth of business owners aged 55+ (from 2006 to 2016)

  • Health 198%
  • Education 164%
  • Professional 112%
  • Real Estate 104%
  • Arts, Recreation & Culture 101%


2Source: Barclays customer data combined with estimates of Barclays market share


3Liz Earle’s top 10 business tips for mature entrepreneurs

  1. Have confidence in your abilities – whether you are taking your career in a new direction, or returning to work after time away, believe in the values you bring to the table. Your wisdom, experience and ability to see the bigger picture will be great assets to any business, and will complement the skills offered by the younger generation


  2. Knowing your subject is key – never stop reading and researching your business’ subject (in libraries, not just on Google!) to ensure an in-depth, wise and considered knowledge on it


  3. Know your business strategy inside out – Once you have the concept thought out, you need to know, and be able to explain to others, how it translates into a business. This is fundamental to securing support and financing. Practice your pitch to friends and family so that when it matters, you can present your idea in a clear and concise way


  4. Get tech savvy – technology and social media are crucial to a modern business, and they don’t have to be intimidating. There is plenty of support available to older entrepreneurs around these topics, you can even visit a Barclays branch for free support from Digital Eagles on how to utilise technology for your business


  5. Always take your time, even if you feel like it is limited – I have always said “if it has to be now, it has to be no”. Never let anyone rush your decisions, each one you make could have a long-term impact on you and your business, so it has to be right


  6. Look after your wellbeing – prioritise your own health and wellbeing so you can build a healthy, robust business as an entrepreneur. Eat well, get moving and safeguard your sleep (especially important as you get older)


  7. Trust your gut instinct – there is research that shows that your gut and brain are connected, so follow any strong instincts, they will most likely be right


  8. Find your passion – establishing a business is no small feat. It will take time, energy and commitment. To make it a real success, you have to truly love what you do


  9. Prioritise what is important to you – never compromise your family for your business. Put family events into your year’s diary and fit work around that. You can also use technology, from Skype for conference calls to mobile banking apps to manage your finances, to save time for what matters most


  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – whether it’s visiting your bank’s local branch to ask about their support for start-ups, asking contacts who are in business for advice, or even asking family members to help with tasks around the house to give you some extra time, there are plenty of people able to support you in your journey

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .