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baby boomer entrepreneur

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Zhang. (2019). Eight types of "baby boomer" entrepreneurs. Australian Journal of Career Development, 28(1), 61–72.


baby boomer, generational


About the Recipe

Unveiling the Diverse Faces of Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

As baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, approach retirement age, their entrepreneurial activities have become a topic of growing interest. A recent study by Zhang and Xu sheds light on the heterogeneous nature of baby boomer entrepreneurs, developing a typology of eight distinct types and examining the factors that drive their entrepreneurial choices.


The study also highlighted the impact of local economic conditions, with higher unemployment rates pushing more seniors into part-time entrepreneurship. This suggests that entrepreneurship can serve as a fallback option for those facing limited job prospects.

These findings have important implications for policymakers seeking to support senior entrepreneurship. They underscore the need for targeted interventions that account for the diverse backgrounds and motivations of baby boomer entrepreneurs. Supporting this group may require a multi-faceted approach that addresses not only financial and educational barriers, but also health, family, and community-level factors.

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, fostering their entrepreneurial potential could help mitigate the fiscal challenges associated with an aging labor force. By recognizing the heterogeneity of this group and tailoring support to their specific needs, we can unlock the economic and social benefits of senior entrepreneurship.

Zhang and Xu's study offers a nuanced portrait of the complex factors that shape entrepreneurial choices among baby boomers. As we navigate the challenges of an aging population, understanding and supporting the diverse faces of senior entrepreneurship will be crucial to harnessing the potential of this experienced and resourceful generation.


The researchers distinguished between new and continuing entrepreneurs, those driven by opportunity versus necessity, full-time versus part-time entrepreneurs, and incorporated versus unincorporated entrepreneurs. Their findings reveal that these different types of baby boomer entrepreneurs are shaped by a complex interplay of demographic, socioeconomic, and health factors.

One key insight is that new and unincorporated baby boomer entrepreneurs were more likely to come from central cities, while continuing, new opportunity, full-time, and incorporated entrepreneurs tended to be physically healthier and better educated. This suggests that access to resources and human capital play a significant role in shaping the nature of entrepreneurial pursuits among this age group.

The study also found that the relationship between age and entrepreneurship is not straightforward. While aging reduces entrepreneurial willingness, it enhances entrepreneurial opportunities. The researchers observed a U-shaped age effect, indicating that after a certain age, older baby boomers were more likely to become new entrepreneurs.

Gender emerged as another important factor, with male baby boomers more likely to be opportunity, full-time, and incorporated entrepreneurs. This may reflect persistent gender inequalities in access to resources and networks that facilitate entrepreneurial success.

Marital status and family responsibilities also played a role, with separated, divorced, or widowed baby boomers without child-care duties more likely to be full-time entrepreneurs. Interestingly, never-married baby boomers were more likely to be part-time entrepreneurs, possibly reflecting a preference for flexibility and work-life balance.

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