Young or old: Who are the better entrepreneurs

Young or old: Who are the better entrepreneurs
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Topic: The master thesis 'Young or old: Who are the better entrepreneurs' belongs to the field of late-career entrepreneurship research. The thesis aims to gain profound qualitative insight into the reasons behind the quantitative, measurable success of late-career entrepreneurs. Moreover, the thesis explores and investigates the differences between young and late-career entrepreneurs in their management approach and available resources.

Relevance: The world's population is ageing faster and getting older. That is, among others, through the ongoing improvements in health, hygiene conditions and standards in most countries. The longer life span of the population has both positive and negative impacts worldwide. Moreover, a projected negative birthrate leads to a worker supply shortage and forces governments and policymakers to rethink their social systems' financing plans. Therefore, late-career entrepreneurs and the relatively unexplored area of late-career entrepreneurship gets more attention because of their promising contributions they can make to economy and society.

Results: Late-career entrepreneurs possess certain advantages that seem to be the reasons for their documented success, including familiarity with administrative bodies and tasks, seniority to be taken seriously and trusted by various parties, calmness in decision-making and problem-solving, an extensive and powerful network helping them to achieve their goals faster, personal financial reserves and advantages in capital sourcing. However, the findings on the differences between the two entrepreneur age groups in regard to management and available resources are minor and in terms of customer relationships, sustainability focus, sense of purpose, leadership, employee development and managerial practices.


  • The first implication is the identification of additional research gaps in the field of late-career entrepreneurship. The study has shown new research gaps such as the relationship between seniority and the late-career entrepreneurs success.
  • The second implication is the advancement of knowledge in the late-career entrepreneurship field. While this study's results have certainly left open questions behind, this hopefully animates other researchers to do further research in the rather unexplored field of late-career entrepreneurship and further expand the knowledge.
  • The third implication is the identification of several success factors which should help future late-career entrepreneurs to support their decision-making and convincing them that it is not too late to start a company.

Method: A qualitative mono-method research approach was chosen that includes elements of exploration through semi-structured interviews conducted with young (≤ 30 years old) and late-career entrepreneurs (≥ 45 years old) of both genders to answer the research questions. The collected qualitative data was then analysed according to the structured qualitative content analysis by Udo Kuckartz.