After years of working as a solo entrepreneur, a CPA, and a strategic adviser at the Portland Community College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Jackie Babicky Peterson realized her clients did not want to hire employees, but rather were interested in making a living doing what they love (especially those over 50), So she created a program to address their needs.
From her keen observations Jackie created Age is Opportunity! (AIO). AOI is a program geared toward enabling older adults to become solo entrepreneurs. The program teaches adults age 50 and over the skills and know-how to succeed as encore solopreneurs. At the PCC Small Business Development Center the AOI program is taught in the Encore and Solo Business Builders classes.
Since it began in 2014, Jackie, who is considered to be a thought leader in the field of solopreneurship, has guided dozens of students through the startup process and equipped them with the ability to combine their small business ideas and decades of professional experience into a plan that helps them become successful Encore solopreneurs.
As older adults approach retirement, they often want to redirect some of their time and energy to passion projects like starting up a new enterprise. These projects bring them a sense of fulfillment. People who reach 65 are highly likely to live well into their 80s and 90s. This "Longevity Bonus" (an extension in life expectancy) is also a major plus for the 35% of Americans that are age 50 or older. However, with greater life expectancy comes greater worry. Some are not prepared financially to fund themselves through their next stage in life. Age is Opportunity! addresses this issue by putting the entrepreneur’s years of experience and wisdom to work in a way that is fun and profitable. Solopreneur enterprises usually don’t require a significant amount of funding upfront or for the individual to hire employees. Thus, they are perfect for those experiencing the Longevity Bonus!
Jackie has recently joined the AARP sponsored road trip (Ready,Set,Retire) which is visiting 9 SBDC centers to promote retirement security and the Age is Opportunity! program.
"Today it is more important than ever for retirees and soon to be retirees to be thinking about their financial security. The vast majority of folks are counting on Social Security as their main source of revenue for retirement, and, because of historic pay inequality, women have often not earned enough over a life time for their Social Security benefits to be enough money to grant financial security in retirement," says Jackie. Yet, Babicky-Peterson continually points out, older people have wisdom, knowledge and often special interests and skills that they can turn into a stream of income without too much effort. "We know stuff” says Babicky-Peterson, “let’s monetize it.”