growth

Fast Lane: The rise of the ‘laterpreneur’

Cara Waters /

I learnt a new word today: “laterpreneur”.  It was used to describe the entrepreneurs behind the law firm Ash Street in an article in The Australian.  

These entrepreneurs are aged mid-50s, so are seen as being late to entrepreneurship.

I have an inbuilt revulsion to words like “mumpreneur”, “laterpreneur” and its alternative “seniorpreneur” but the article did get me thinking about how the stereotype of an entrepreneur is a young male in their 20s or early 30s with a tech business.

In reality, we know almost half the entrepreneurs who read SmartCompany are female and they span a range of ages from teenagers to entrepreneurs in their 50s, 60s and 70s. 

While young entrepreneurs like Ash Davies, who founded publishing company Tablo at the age of 19, might grab the headlines there are plenty of middle-aged entrepreneurs out there. 

Take Canadian entrepreneur Jeff Downs who started Redback Conferencing in Sydney in 2009, at age 51.  

Downs founded the business in the midst of the global financial crisis and only a week after he had flown into Australia from Canada.

It might not have been the best time to start a business providing a service to the corporate sector.

But Redback Conferencing, which makes and provides a multi-platform video conferencing program for business has thrived, growing nearly 60% in three years and reaching turnover of more than $3 million.

Another great example of a “laterpreneur” (although I’m sure he’d hate the word) is Dare Jennings who founded clothing and lifestyle brand Deus Ex Machina in his 60s. 

Jennings had already successfully built and sold cult surf wear brand Mambo in his younger days so it isn’t so much a case of being late to entrepreneurship as taking a second bite at the cherry. 

Research by the US entrepreneurship think-tank, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, shows in the United States in the past decade entrepreneurship has been highest in the 55-64 age bracket.

Americans aged 55 and over are starting businesses at a higher rate than those in their 20s or 30s.

In Australia, laterpreneurship is also growing. 

According to Roy Morgan’s State of the Nation report, the fastest growing age group of those starting a business over the last 10 years has been the over 50s, who now account for 45.7% compared to 38.8% in 2002.

So much for ageing gracefully, laterpreneurs are showing risk taking and innovation is for all ages.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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