The rising age of small business owners

Younger people are becoming less and less likely to own a small business, according to research from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

The research showed that the most common age of small business owners across Australia is 50, compared to 45 in 2006.

Bruce Billson, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, said in the 1980s there were actually twice as many small business owners aged between 30 and 49 as there were over 50.

“Small business, which accounts for 97 per cent of all businesses and provides jobs for over 5.1 million people and employs 42 per cent of all apprentices and trainees, stands at the epicentre of this mission and energising enterprise will help deliver the growth to meet future needs.

“But the small business sector faces its own demographic challenges with only 8 per cent of small business owners aged under 30. It is half the peak for this age group of 17 per cent achieved in the mid-1970s.”

In sectors such as retail, only six per cent of small business owners are under 30, and in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, two-thirds of small businesses are owned by people over the age of 50.

“We need to replenish and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs, value self-employment and encourage and enable smaller enterprises and the livelihoods they make possible.

“We need to understand why it is not as appealing as it perhaps should be for younger Australians to own a small business?”

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