Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Perth, Western Australia


Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre


ECU-Industry Collaborative Grant


Walker, B., Webster, B., Turner, J. (2005). Developing a framework of training for the older small business owner. Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


This study was conducted as a result of the critical issue of the ageing population and the implications this will have on the workforce. An employment option for older workers is to become self-employed and to start their own small businesses, rather than to continue working in mainstream employment, which becomes increasing difficult as employees age. The option of self-employment may be a viable option for older people as uncertainty of employment tenure in mainstream employment continues to increases over time and is a way to utilise work skills and competencies that have been acquired over years of work experience.

The results show that self-employment is not necessarily a first choice for many older people, as the perceived high level of risk associated with starting a business is a significant barrier. For those that do start their own business, which is an increasing trend, the age of the new business owner has an influence on the type of business information and related training they require in order to operate their businesses successfully. The study was conducted in the first quarter of 2005 and employed both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. 270 small business owners participated in quantitative part of the study and an addition 15 older small business owners were interviewed in order to gain more in-depth insights into the issues facing older small business owners.