The number of people over the age of 50 starting their own business is soaring, according to a study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). Hayley Platt looks at how this group are helping fuel Britain's economic recovery.
Tony Palmer is off to work. He doesn't have far to go. He runs a glass etching business from his garden shed. One of a growing number of fifty-something, so-called silver entrepreneurs, helping to fuel Britain's economic recovery. SOUNDBITE: Tony Palmer, Glass Etcher, saying (English): "It sort of started as a hobby and when I lost my job, I was sitting with my wife saying what am I going to do. I went along to the job centre and said look I'm 52, I've got health issues what are my chances of getting a paid employed and they just shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads. I came away with the idea that it was going to be an impossible task, so I had to do something." That was five years ago and Tony hasn't looked back. His crystal creations can fetch up to £400. Enough to carve out a living until he chooses to retire. It seems he's not alone. A recent study showed the number of over 50s starting their own business has risen one and a half times over the past six years. Alistair Clegg is CEO of PRIME, a charity founded by the Prince of Wales to help older entrepreneurs get started. SOUNDBITE: Alistair Clegg, CEO of PRIME, saying (English): "I think increasingly people in their 50s are thinking we've probably got another 20 years in which we need to be earning money, but frankly do they want to be in the workplace that they've been in for the last 30/40 years, possibly not." The fact is, there are more than 3.5 million people in Britain over 50 and out of work. And they're more likely to stay unemployed longer. Many say they're too young to retire and still have have invaluable skills that are often over looked in the work place. SOUNDBITE: Tony Palmer, Glass Etcher, saying (English): "I've got a lifetime of experience. I've had many jobs since I left school of quite a wide variety of jobs in actual fact, all from which I am able to call on experience that would bring something to any particular job, whereas a younger person doesn't have that extensive experience if you like." Over the past six years, some 43 percent in their fifties or sixties have started their own business. And that's good news for Britain's economy. SOUNDBITE: Alistair Clegg, CEO of PRIME, saying (English): "This as a real driver for Britain out of recession, and I think finally the government are starting to recognize that this is something that needs to be addressed and encouraged, and we're really all for that." We're all living longer, healthier and more active lives. But being able to finance those lives could become harder. Tony says he'll never be rich but the satisfaction he gets from his work can't be measured in money.