Is Startup Weekend missing a middle-aged trick?

As one of many simultaneous events taking place around the world, the Wellington Startup Weekend took place on April 10 – 12 at Creative HQ.

Now one of the purposes of the weekend event is not necessarily to create new businesses, but as much to develop a greater awareness among its (mostly young) participants of what is required to foster a successful enterprise.

That Startup Weekend is mostly young people isn’t surprising – they’re often unencumbered, single, only supporting themselves.

It made me wonder, (and I asked co-organiser Dave Moskovitz) if there isn’t some Startup Weekend around the world that is more geared to those of us past the first flush of youth?

Dave wasn’t sure (though hadn’t heard of such a focus).

Many of us middle-aged people are (relatively) unencumbered, have the children-supporting side of our lives behind us and perhaps have a bit of capital.

Just as importantly, we often have good ideas, would like to team up with like-minded people, and have another 20 years or so of working lives in front of us.

Given that a five year life expectancy for a company can be good – well the age of participants becomes much less important.

There’s some interesting statistics (well, as least from the USA) to back this up.

Check out this Huffington Post article, which quotes, among others, Vivek Wadhwa, an academic, writer and entrepreneur.

In 2008, at the height of the entrepreneurial youth renaissance, Wadhwa released breakthrough research that showed the number of founders older than 50 was double the number of founders younger than 25, and the number of founders over age 60 was also twice the number of founder under 20. The average age of male founders was 40, and female founders’ average age was 41. In fact, Wadhwa’s research revealed that the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity had shifted to boomers in the 55-64 age group.

Such middle-aged life and business experience, honed by a Startup Weekend type event could have fascinating outcomes.

It wouldn’t surprise me if it produced some physical products with a strong digital component.

Just throwing the middle-aged start up weekend idea out there.

Maybe there’s downsides that I haven’t even thought of.

I for one would be a starter, and I know a number of others who would be too.


About sticknz

sticK is by Peter Kerr, a writer for hire. I have a broad science and technology background and interest, with an original degree in agricultural science. My writing speciality is making the complex understandable. I am available for outside consultancy work, and for general discussions of converting a good idea into something positive
This entry was posted in contract writer, Entrepreneur, Innovation, SciBlogs, start-up, writer for hire and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Is Startup Weekend missing a middle-aged trick?

  1. Jane Shearer says:

    Good idea – interesting ideas and entrepreneurial activity are not only the province of the young.

  2. MikeP says:

    You’re right. Not that I am biased in any way… A good team has a variety of skills, capabilities and experiences and a lot of scars. Would love to see more interest and activity from the older set.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I like your idea Peter. I think it would be great to partner experienced middle aged people with younger entrepreneurs – might also challenge assumptions of both groups and help to knock some edges off.

  4. Love it! Totally agree that even us early middle aged have seen enough to contribute something, and realistically those with kids can go a weekend with no sleep in their sleep. So to speak.

  5. Absolutely! Startup Weekend events are outstanding learning experiences. They are also inclusive & they encourage diversity by nature. Yet there may be a perception they are for ‘the young’! That may be a myth to dispel – those pics from Tauranga SW14 can help for a start – and our organising team *average* age is 40+ – so Peter [and all] I invite you to look out for Tauranga Start Up weekend date [to be announced soon ] and book your ticket to sunny Bay of Plenty to participate!

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