2nd Annual Million-Dollar Ideas

Tech Training For Seniors

According to recent AARP surveys, aging baby boomers not only have more expendable income than any other maturing generation, but they also have an interest in life-long learning and a willingness to adopt technology faster, which makes the market ripe for entrepreneurs who focus on tech training for seniors. Take, for instance, Justin Maietta, 25, Dorian LeBlanc, 25, Drew Sigfridson, 24, Eric Fleisch, 25, and Paul Rohlfing, 25, who launched Dallas-based Pace Education in June 2000. The partners not only give regular classes at a few of the 300 retirement communities in the Dallas area, but also take their hands-on approach into clients' homes, offering personalized curriculums and a SmartBuyer program (which helps clients find and purchase equipment).

Even if you're low on cash, this business is an option: "There are very low initial costs because the customers provide the hardware and the space," says Sigfridson, whose company will likely bring in more than $350,000 in 2001. "It's a great way to incubate the service before we open storefront centers."

Keep in mind, though, some seniors have never used a computer (which means online courses will not reach this segment), and many have diminished eyesight and hearing. Some may also have difficulty maneuvering equipment, such as the mouse. Many community centers and nonprofit organizations are also offering tech training to seniors for free, so to be successful, you'll need to provide excellent, personalized service.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 2nd Annual Million-Dollar Ideas.

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