Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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SBA aims its start-up wisdom at 50-plus

AARP joins in ‘encore entrepreneur’ effort

After 30 or 40 years in the work force, many Americans are ready to leave the corporate world, but aren't yet able or ready to retire.

Combine that with the number of middle-age workers trying to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs during the great recession, and there are a lot of potential entrepreneurs out there in the 50-plus age bracket.

To help those people along on their path to self-employment, the U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP are joining together to host several informational “encore entrepreneur” sessions this month, including one from 10:30 a.m. until noon on April 29 in Toledo.

“The uncertainty created by the downturn a few years ago made more people concerned about their future, and this is one way for them to control their own destiny,” said Gil Goldberg, director of the SBA's northern Ohio district office.

SBA research has found that a quarter of people aged 44 to 70 are interested in starting their own business, while 63 percent say they plan to work during retirement.

Mr. Goldberg said a nice way to do that is to start your own business and be your own boss. The SBA can help start-ups in a variety of ways, including business counselling services and help in securing start-up capital.

The Toledo workshop, open to those age 50 and up, is designed to provide an overview of those resources, as well as local assistance available from Northwest Ohio SCORE and the Ohio Small Business Development Center at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“There’s an awful lot of opportunity for people who have those levels of experience in their life to go out and make their own income, but like anyone else, they need to have some guidance in making that happen,” said Bill Wersell, vice president of business development at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the workshop.

There’s no cost to attend the workshop, though space is limited.

The event features a keynote address from Maumee resident and orchestra director turned cookie magnate Yuval Zaliouk.

“When we had him here in Cleveland in the fall, the individuals in the audience were just fascinated with him,” Mr. Goldberg said.

Mr. Zaliouk, who led the Toledo Symphony for nearly a decade, started a business baking cookies in his home kitchen based on a family recipe. YZ Enterprises now sells cookies in all 50 states.

Workshop attendees will be able to schedule follow-up appointments with officials with SCORE and the chamber’s Small Business Development Center to further discuss business plans and potential assistance.

Mr. Wersell said many people tap into their 401(k) — or even drain it completely — to finance their start-up.

“We’re trying to show them other options for financing, developing a business plan properly and making sure it will be viable and income-producing, and direct them into opportunities they maybe haven't considered in the past,” he said.

People can sign up by contacting Patsy Welch at SBA at 216-522-4172 or by emailing her at

Registration is also available online through the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Web site, or by calling Marsha Schroeder at the chamber at 419-243-8191.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: or 419-724-6134.

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