Senior Enterprise

Interreg IVB NWE
Senior Enterprise is an EU supported initiative designed to encourage a greater involvement with enterprise by those over 50.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Senior Enterprise helps the over 50s to engage with enterprise in a variety of ways: through becoming an entrepreneur by starting or acquiring a business; by investing in a business started by someone else; or by offering advice and support through volunteer mentoring.
The project partners also want to change the way in which European and national policymakers and institutions view this age group. Whether it is with funds to invest, significant experience to share, or a newly discovered entrepreneurial zeal, they can make a real contribution to their local communities and to Europe more generally.


Winner of the Investing In Skills category at The European Enterprise Awards (2013).

Impact evidence

  • In four years, the Senior Enterprise project has helped to create over 1,000 individual businesses in Ireland, France, and the UK.
  • The UK partner has helped to create around 1,500 new businesses and some 2,000 new jobs in 2012 with a forecast Gross Value Added of £43.4 million, saving a minimum of £3.7 million in Job Seekers Allowance.
  • 100 start ups created in Ireland during the five years of the program.
How does it work?

The project is divided into four mains actions:
- Raising awareness of the many ways in which older people can engage with enterprise. It will also encompass the creation of a Senior Enterprise Association, a local, national and transnational network for those interested in such engagement.
- Supporting entrepreneurship by older people starting new businesses themselves or in partnership with a younger individual. Tailored courses for over 50s starting their own business are set up by Inno TSD in Brittany. The first session, attended by 14 trainees over 50, was a success: 4 of them have already set up their own business and 2 of them found a new job in the timeframe of the implementation of their business plan.
- Favouring investment by an older individual in a business started by someone else. This investment may range from a hands-off informal investment, to the investment of time and money (SMART money) through to the full acquisition of the business.
- Supporting older individuals to tap into their accumulated skills, experience and contact base to support the development and growth of an enterprise started by another through advice, including support for innovation.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Where has been implemented so far
France and UK.