AARP Foundation’s Work for Yourself@50+ program helps low-income older adults navigate self-employment opportunities. For many, entrepreneurship after age 50 is a necessity — a way to generate income when traditional job opportunities are scarce and the value of retirement savings has declined. Older adults with limited income can benefit from the new “gig economy,” but it’s not easy to find trustworthy information.
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In 2014, AARP Foundation and The Hartford addressed this critical gap in the small business and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The result was Work for Yourself@50+, a comprehensive initiative that offers older adults the resources and expertise to determine whether entrepreneurship is right for them, find step-by-step information on how to start a business, and generate additional income.
Since the program launched in 2016, over 35 Work for Yourself@50+ partners across 40 urban and rural communities have provided practical guidance, coaching, and peer support to more than 26,000 older entrepreneurs. Program participants have reported an average increase of almost $11,000 in annual business revenue. This increase has not only boosted their own income but also contributed to their community’s prosperity.
During this 18-month grant, COABE will work with 10 local partners to implement the Work For Yourself at 50+ initiative with the goal of helping over 100 learners start sustainable businesses. Pilot programs have been selected and will receive $10,000 of funding to provide workshops, training, mentorship, and community support for learners.