A 70-year-old Irish businessman has embraced an initiative aimed at helping the over-50s achieve entrepreneurial success. The results are impressive, with similar mentoring expanding into the UK and France.
A third of Europeans are over 55 and many are keen to set up new businesses. One such person is 70-year-old Peter Cullen, part of the ‘silver economy’.
His company, The Jelly Bean Factory, set up in 1998, is today the largest producer of sweets in Europe, employing 70 people and posting annual turnover of €16 million. “We export 97 % of what we produce to 50 countries worldwide”, says Peter.
Cullen is also a volunteer role model and mentor with the Senior Enterprise project, started in Ireland. In just four years, the project has helped create over 1 000 businesses in Ireland, the UK and France.
The project is recognised as a best practice by the European Union and won a European Enterprise Promotion Award in 2013. The EU believes that age is no barrier to fulfilling one’s potential.
John Byrne, director of Senior Enterprise, explains: “Being over 50, nowadays, is a new lifestyle stage in which people realise that they have time, health, experience and networks to start something new in their 50s.”
This could be you
Are you over 50, with plenty more business still in you? The EU is ready to provide support.
- Need help with your business project? Get in touch with an Enterprise Europe Network contact point near you to get support
- Keep tabs on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards
- Senior Enterprise initiative in Ireland
- Listen and learn from a senior Irish business mentor — watch the video