Older Social Enterpreneurs
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Older Social Enterpreneurs



In this Presntation we look at social enterprise as one means of providing both business and social value opportunities to groups and segments of the population that are either often overlooked or in ...

In this Presntation we look at social enterprise as one means of providing both business and social value opportunities to groups and segments of the population that are either often overlooked or in some way marginalized.
This presentation looks at how social entrepreneurship could provide a form of transition or an alternative to retirement, providing an alternative or ‘middle way’ between ‘mainstream’ entrepreneurship and voluntary work. At the same time, older people’s involvement in social entrepreneurial activity could make a contribution to tackling issues of an ageing society, such as social exclusion
This presentation is based on a study that aimed at examining these trends in more depth and also explored what older people gain through their social entrepreneurial activities.
Bianca Stumbitz from Middlesex University will present this Webinar and place it in the perspective of not only the social enterprise movement itself but also other initiatives relating to employment, social value and overall policy on equality.
You can find out more about what Bianca's presentation on our CitizenZone Blog. You can view it here now.

Bianca Stumbitz has been involved in research on social entrepreneurship since 2008. Her project on 50+ Social Entrepreneurs is part of the Social Enterprise Capacity Building Cluster at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research(CEEDR) at Middlesex University Business School.



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Older Social Enterpreneurs Older Social Enterpreneurs Presentation Transcript

  • The Role and Potential of50+ Social Entrepreneurs in an Ageing Society Presentation by Bianca Stumbitz TSRC Webinar 18 June 2012
  • BackgroundThe project on 50+ Social Entrepreneurs is:• part of the Social Enterprise Capacity Building Cluster at the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) at Middlesex University Business School• undertaken in collaboration with UnLtd:Stumbitz, B., McDowall, H. & Gabriel, M. (2012). „Golden Opportunities - Social Entrepreneurs in an Ageing Society. Research Finding Series. UnLtd Research.
  • Presentation Outline1. Background/Context2. Research Findings3. Conclusion – The Role and Potential of 50+ Social Entrepreneurs in an Ageing Society
  • The Claimed Potential of Social EntrepreneursBuilding a ‘Big Society’:Social action•Call for civic engagement.Community empowerment•More responsibility will be given to neighbourhoods toaddress social issues.Public sector reform•Social enterprises are presented as being able to providemore personalised public services to most disadvantagedpeople, and to innovate more quickly and effectively thanstate bodies.
  • The Ageing Population (1)• Demographic changes and social policy concerns – debate regarding the roles and levels of involvement of older people in the economy and society.• How can opportunities of older people in „third age‟ be maximised (new roles) and social exclusion minimised?• Changing concept of retirement: no longer clear entry point to „old age‟.• Moving away from cliff-edge approach to retirement.
  • The Ageing Population (2)• ‘Mainstream’ Entrepreneurship - one suggested route to extend working lives (Curran & Blackburn 2001). -> however, new business activity declines with age for those 55+ (GEM 2010).• Volunteering - benefits of active engagement in community in (transition to) retirement (Smith & Gray 2005). -> 50+ strongly represented in volunteering (2008-09 Citizenship Survey).• Social Entrepreneurship -> Could provide „middle way‟ between „mainstream‟ entrepreneurship and voluntary work.
  • Role and Potential of 50+ Social Entrepreneurs Are older people an under-recognised resource of social entrepreneurs?• Some research in the UK suggests that people over 55 are less likely to get involved in social entrepreneurial activity than most other age groups (GEM 2009).• Is this really the case or do they not identify themselves as „social entrepreneurs‟? -> missing or hidden?
  • Project Aims and ObjectivesTo gain a deeper understanding of „who‟ 50+ socialentrepreneurs are:• What are their motivations, areas of activity, and what is the role of SEA in their lives?• What contributions do they make through their SEA?• What benefits do they gain personally?• Are they really „missing‟ from SE or are they just „hidden‟?• What could be done to increase SE amongst people over 50?
  • Data Collection ProcessFour sources of data:• 21 in-depth interviews with established social entrepreneurs over 50, most of whom have run projects supported by UnLtd.• Ongoing evaluation of UnLtd‟s ageing-focused programmes, including 34 in-depth interviews with early stage social entrepreneurs.• A quantitative database of 5,426 UnLtd award winners across all ages, including 982 social entrepreneurs aged 50+.• Existing UnLtd data on social entrepreneurs of all age groups, including UnLtd‟s annual survey data.
  • UnLtd’s 50+ Social EntrepreneursPeople aged 50+ are clearly under-representedamongst UnLtd’s social entrepreneurs.• While making up 44% of the population aged 18+ (ONS 2009), they are only making up 18% of UnLtd award winners.• They are less likely to get involved in social entrepreneurial activity than all other 18+ age groups.• This is similar to mainstream entrepreneurship, where new entrepreneurial activity also declines with age (GEM 2010).
  • UnLtd’s 60+ Social Entrepreneurs• 13% of 50+ age group were in their 50s.• Only 5% were over 60.-> Strong decline of new social entrepreneurial activity at an age that suggests great potential for involvement.
  • Older PeopleOn the one hand:• There still is a tendency to present older people as frail, poor, lonely and dependent (Thompson & Thompson 1996) and as an „economic burden to society‟ (Johnson 2005).On the other hand:• Older people are in increasingly good health and live longer (ONS 2010).• Reconstruction of older people as “a new generation of energetic individuals who are looking forward to third age as a time full of opportunities and chances to get involved in new roles rather than, as previously, a time to remove themselves socially and economically” (Scase 1999).
  • Adam (64)“Because I left [my job] when I was just over 61, everybodyassumed I was retiring... and really, I wanted to do somethingdifferent. But I think it also showed the prejudice, if you like,against older people, because everybody just assumed I wasretiring from the position… I was retiring from full-time work, butwhat I wanted to do was, in the first instance, to travel, becauseI went away for a couple of months to Australia and New Zealandand various places on the way there, but I also wanted to be ableto, you know, be my own boss, which really I had never beenthroughout my whole career… but I also wanted to be able towork as and when I wanted really. So, therefore, as far as I wasconcerned, it was opening up a new chapter...”
  • The Diversity of 50+ Social Entrepreneurs50+ social entrepreneurs have been identified as a diversegroup in terms of:• gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background etc.• physical fitness, psychological wellbeing, identity etc.• individual life experience.UnLtd’s 50+ Social Entrepeneurs:• 53% are female;• 14% are from a minority ethnic background;• a large proportion are educated to degree level (44%), or have professional qualifications (23%).
  • Focus on social value:The majority of interviewees tended towards a „philanthropic‟rather than „commercial‟ model of social entrepreneurship :• Amongst UnLtd‟s annual survey respondents aged 48+, half generated no turnover during 2009-10.However, there were exceptions:• For example, 9% of those over 48 generated more than £100,000 turnover in the reporting period.
  • Motivations• Having a lifetime of Experience to share: ‟We‟re the ones who know, we‟re experienced. If they throw away all the experience we have, the society will lose a lot...‟• Trigger - often triggered by a particular moment or experience in their lives (e.g. surviving severe illness).• Opportunity - sometimes not brought to fruition until many years after trigger event - often related to life stage (such as children moving away or retirement)
  • Benefits to 50+ Social Entrepreneurs • Better quality of life through active engagement in community; keeping mind and body active – „healthy ageing‟ (Smith & Gray 2005). • Chance to put existing skills and experience to good use. • Opportunity to shape own venture to better reflect individual skills set and passions. • Opportunities for self-fulfilment. • Opportunity of providing an income stream. • Transition or alternative to retirement („downshifting‟).
  • Catherine (63)“I‟d taken early retirement from the health service, so I had ahealth service pension, and I thought I wanted to dosomething… I hadn‟t really thought about doing any[personal] development before, as you might call it. Yeah, it‟ssomething I wanted to do to make my life more interesting.And the [social venture] gave me something to do that Ithought was worthwhile and that my community needed, andalso I meet people in my local community because, whenyou‟re not working all day and the children don‟t go to schoolanymore, you don‟t tend to meet people that much…”
  • Missing or hidden?• 50+ award winners had very little awareness or knowledge of social entrepreneurship.• Only a few called themselves „social entrepreneur‟.Reasons for not using term, e.g. : - not being sure of its meaning; - concerns regarding ability to live up to expectations of being a social entrepreneur (hero); - resisting term as not compatible with their mission (money making vs. social aspects; individual vs. group efforts).
  • They are both missing and hidden!These insights point to the following implications:The possibility of the existence of...• ...a large number of hidden 50+ social entrepreneurs, who are unaware that they are one or who do not identify with the language of social entrepreneurship.• ...another large number of potential social entrepreneurs with great skills and ideas, who do not think that they meet the criteria for being a social entrepreneur.
  • Conclusion (1)Support and OutreachThere is a need to:• „Demystify‟ what it means to be a social entrepreneur - and the different forms it can take - in order to... - ... encourage more people over 50 to become involved; - ... make those who are already actively involved in SE aware that they qualify to make use of the existing support infrastructure.• Make people over 50 aware of benefits to themselves... ...e.g. potential that social entrepreneurship provides as transition or alternative to retirement.
  • Conclusion (2)Diversity of SEA and Social EntrepreneursThere is a need to recognise that SEA can include differentlevels of involvement, depending on many different aspects(e.g. time available, financial situation etc.). “I think there‟s a huge opportunity in this country where we‟ve got such a lot of older people who‟ve done a number of different jobsand have got a lot of experience; I think there‟s huge opportunity for that expertise and experience to be developed in an on-going way [...] – not just on a voluntary basis, because not everybody can afford to give lots of voluntary time when they get older. Some people can, but...”
  • Conclusion (3)Future ResearchHow do their expectations from SE differ from those of younger people? -> provide more tailored support and opportunities that reflect values of age group.e.g. more interested in philanthropic rather than economic model of social entrepreneurship?How do their expectations from SE differ within the age group? -> cater for different needs within age group
  • Conclusion (4)• Civic engagement can take many forms and include many different levels of involvement, depending on individual circumstances.• Taken the efforts of all these people together, they can have an important impact and make a considerable contribution to the economy and (Big) society.
  • Time for Questions ? and Suggestions
  • Key ReferencesCentre for Social Justice (2010). The Forgotten Age – Understanding poverty and social exclusion in later life – Executive summary. Breakthrough Britain. Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).Harding, R. (2006). Social Entrepreneurship Monitor United Kingdom 2006. GEM UK Foundation for Entrepreneurial Management. London Business School.Hart, M. & Levie, J. (2010). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor – United Kingdom 2010 Monitoring Report. GEM.Levie, J. & Hart, M. (2009). Global Entrepreneurship Monitor – United Kingdom 2010 Monitoring Report. GEM.Levie, J. & Hart, M. (2010). „What distinguishes Social Entrepreneurs from Business Entrepreneurs? Insights from GEM‟. Paper presented at the ISBE (Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Conference 2010.Marshall, V. & Taylor, P. (2005). „Restructuring the Lifecourse: Work and Retirement‟, in Johnson, M. (ed.). The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing, Cambridge: Cambridge University PressONS (2011). Citizenship Survey April 2010 – March 2011, Office for National Statistics, published 22 September 2011.Scase, R. (1999). Britain Towards 2010. The Changing Business Environment. Department of Trade and Industry. London. August.Stumbitz, B., McDowall, H. & Gabriel, M. (2012). „Golden Opportunities - Social Entrepreneurs in an Ageing Society. Research Finding Series. UnLtd Research.