Over-50s thrive in entrepreneurial world through award-winning senior mentoring initiative

A 70-year-old Irish businessman has embraced an initiative aimed at helping the over-50s achieve entrepreneurial success. The results are impressive, with similar mentoring expanding into the UK and France.

A third of Europeans are over 55 and many are keen to set up new businesses. One such person is 70-year-old Peter Cullen, part of the ‘silver economy’.

His company, The Jelly Bean Factory, set up in 1998, is today the largest producer of sweets in Europe, employing 70 people and posting annual turnover of €16 million. “We export 97 % of what we produce to 50 countries worldwide”, says Peter.

Cullen is also a volunteer role model and mentor with the Senior Enterprise project, started in Ireland. In just four years, the project has helped create over 1 000 businesses in Ireland, the UK and France.

The project is recognised as a best practice by the European Union and won a European Enterprise Promotion Award in 2013. The EU believes that age is no barrier to fulfilling one’s potential.

John Byrne, director of Senior Enterprise, explains: “Being over 50, nowadays, is a new lifestyle stage in which people realise that they have time, health, experience and networks to start something new in their 50s.”

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