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Firm Creation and Performance among Older Individuals 11-01-2018

IN+ Seminars

Ageing and Entrepreneurship: Firm Creation and Performance among Older Individuals

By Catarina Matos

Date January 11, 14h30
Location DEM's Meeting Room (Sala de Reuniões do DEM)


Senior entrepreneurship is a phenomenon of growing interest due to the current focus on active ageing. Little is still known about the determinants of senior entrepreneurship and less regarding its outcomes.

This thesis provides insights into the diversity of senior entrepreneurs and examines firm performance from subjective and objective levels. It is based on a multi-theory approach, from gerontology, psychology, to economic theories. Moreover, primary and secondary data was adopted: a questionnaire and a national database “Quadros de Pessoal”.

The research has four main contributions. First, a framework of analysis is developed and applied to review senior entrepreneurship literature. A lack of evidence related to firm performance was found and more theory-based articles should be developed. Second, the Portuguese reality of senior entrepreneurship is examined and we find that Portugal faces an older population who exhibits a low willingness to engage in entrepreneurship, probably due to the levels of bureaucracy, low market dynamics, and a culture not oriented to performance. Third, we explore the impact of human capital traits on firm creation and of age on firm performance. Having entrepreneurial and paid employee experience is positively related to firm creation for older individuals. Furthermore, our results confirm the negative effect of being older on firm performance. Fourth, we demonstrate the importance of career stage for understanding entrepreneurial satisfaction – non-monetary aspects (compared to monetary ones) and having industry experience positively affect entrepreneurial satisfaction, whereas having spent more than 12 months unemployed immediately before founding affects it negatively.

The thesis leads to implications for policy makers and future research, namely on the appropriateness of considering self-perceived age (instead of chronological age) as an indicator influencing entrepreneurship and differentiating senior entrepreneurs according to the concept of entrepreneurship. The negative effect of unemployment status before startup should be acknowledged and tackled by policy makers.