MEDIA RELEASE: Harnessing the power of ‘seniorpreneurs’ one key to growing Australia’s silver economy and changing attitudes to ageing

Harnessing and expanding the potential of older entrepreneurs to build a growing silver economy on the back of our ageing population is one of a range of key measures the peak body for older Australians will highlight at a national aged care conference in Sydney today.

Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, will outline the government’s new approach to ageing set out in the More Choices for a Longer Life package in the recent Federal Budget when he speaks at COTA’s Aged Care Reform after the 2018 Federal Budget Conference in Sydney, which will also hear from Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt and a myriad of other notable speakers.

COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates, said the “More Choices for a Longer Life” package contains a comprehensive raft of measures to help all Australians plan ahead to get the most out of a healthier life, and seeks to reframe ageing and aged care in a positive way.

“Just one exciting example among many is recognition of the untapped potential of older workers and the silver economy, with $17.7 million over four years to extend the government’s flagship business entrepreneurship program to include older participants.”

Mr Yates said reshaping this program to older members of the workforce will be both of practical assistance to mature age people wanting to start a business and will send a message to the Australian community that ageing is not a burden but a time of opportunity and growth for individuals and the economy.

“ ‘Seniorpreneurs’ already contribute $11.9 billion per annum to the Australian economy in over 379,000 businesses and launch about 14,000 new businesses a year”, Mr Yates said.

“Older entrepreneurs have more industry experience, invest more in their business and earn greater profits than their younger counterparts.

“As a nation we must start thinking of an ageing population as an asset rather than a burden,” Mr Yates said. “Older Australians have a wealth of experience and knowledge which until now has not been harnessed nearly as effectively as it could have been.

“Extending the business entrepreneurship program to include older workers is a crucial step in ensuring older Australians are equipped with the skills and resources to thrive in the new economy and realise the until now under recognised potential of our older workforce.”

Anne Moore, 63 from Sydney knows all too well the challenges older Australians face in the workplace, having spent over 30 years as a HR director in major corporates.

Ms Moore founded PlanDo, an online career platform enabling all workers to shift mindsets towards greater autonomy and grow their skill set as they pave new pathways towards success.

“Over the last decade we have seen so many changes in the way we do work. This creates opportunities for everyone with an open mind and for those who are prepared to be adaptive and responsive to changes.

“For older Australians in particular, now is the time to revisit new career paths, reinvigorate and constantly refresh skills.

“PlanDo is all about agency and autonomy – all Australians, regardless of their age, should be entitled to make decisions and choices in all facets of their lives.

“I think it’s really important to not think of age as relevance or irrelevance – as long as you are learning and growing you are contemporary.

“The extension of the business entrepreneurship program to include older workers is absolutely fantastic as it allows older Australians to utilise their wealth of subject matter expertise to solve problems in the modern world.

“We need to be tapping into every individual’s skills if we want to thrive as a country – there is an economic and social imperative to include older Australians in the workforce.”

Find out more about the More Choices for a Longer Life package at the Government’s new portal

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.