Shirley Hermiston, business support manager at North East BIC.
Jane Imrie

North East over-50s encouraged to unleash entrepreneurial spirit by business support firm

A business support organisation in the North East has encouraged locals 50 and over to consider entrepreneurship.

The North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has urged older entrepreneurs to take the plunge into self-employment.

The news comes after the company reported that 21 per cent of all its enquiries for startup support during the pandemic came from people over the age of 50.

Shirley Hermiston, business support manager at the BIC, explained: “We’re delighted to be able to provide start-up support to such a broad range of people here at the BIC and the rise in enquiries we’ve received from aspiring entrepreneurs aged 50 and over during the past 12 months just goes to show you are never too old to start a business.

“After all, the UK has an ageing population, and everyone should be given the chance to start a new business, regardless of their age.

“It’s important that we work to support mature entrepreneurs and give everyone an equal opportunity to explore their ideas and find out more about the support available to them.”

One such entrepreneur who received support from the BIC during the Covid crisis was former lecturer Julie Welsh, now in her 50s, from Sunderland.

After taking voluntary redundancy during the pandemic, Julie launched her own business, Adults Achieving with Julie, which aims to support mature students to pursue and achieve their ambitions.

Julie commented: “I was hesitant when I went to my first workshop at the BIC, because starting something completely new again in my 50s was a big step, but I think it’s a big step no matter what your age.

“There is always appetite for career change when people get to their 30s and 40s, but I expect coronavirus will prove a catalyst for a lot more change.

“People have had a chance to reflect on their lives or have had changes to their circumstances that will lead them to do new things. We only live once, and we deserve to make the most of it.”

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