Develop centres specifically focused on providing bureau services for seniors wanting to start small businesses, aggregating skill sets to bid for contracts, providing labour hire services, and funding senior internships in business and charity.
As has been well documented, older workers are highly experienced but often lack the business skills required to re-establish themselves as employment-creating small businesses, to pitch for contracts, or to ‘sell’ themselves to employers. Their needs are unique in the workforce and existing services struggle to meet those needs. Centres would be initially seed-funded from government (including existing government incentive schemes) and corporate sources (especially those with ageing workforces and/or undergoing major redundancy programs e.g. car industry) but ultimately they would aim to be self-sustaining though bureau service fees, commissions, ongoing corporate investment and social bonds. A pilot Centre would need to be established in a major city but there is significant scope for online tools and services to support a national roll-out. A typical centre would: • Provide mentoring, business planning and seed-funding for senior entrepreneurs. • Provide business services (e.g. accounting, business registration and reporting, payroll, IT support) to new and existing small businesses run by seniors. • Aggregate skill sets of registered older workers and pitch for contracts under a collective business structure or a business established for the purpose or a labour hire company. • Provide a ‘try before you buy’ system of subsidised internships in business, government and charity settings.