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It's Never Too Late: Entrepreneurship Has No Age Entrepreneurs succeed because they have the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to build a sustainable business, not because they a have longer runway.

By John W. R. Paul

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


It is often perceived that entrepreneurship is for the young crowd. However, age shouldn't be a determining factor that stops one from pursuing their dreams.

While it's always good to start early, a study suggests that businesses are more likely to succeed as their founders' age increase up until about age 40. From Gordon Bowker, who founded Starbucks when he was over 50, to Vera Wang, the editor at Vogue who decided to be a famous fashion designer at the age of 40, success cannot be determined by age. It has been observed that older entrepreneurs are more adept at building resilient businesses, which is especially crucial during times of modest economic growth.

Taking inspiration from some of the renowned names, at the age of 40, after a successful stint in my career, I thought about doing something on my own in the marine industry in 2008. Due to the economic downturn, we were off to a rough start, but I very much felt at ease as a new business owner. This is because the experience I gained in my past job had helped me acquire the right skills, contacts and industry-specific knowledge that I could apply to a new business. I was financially stable, and had the capacity to incur minimal debt. Of course, there were some rough patches along the way, but I learned lessons hard, and I learned lessons fast. Looking back over the last ten years, I am glad I did start- it was what I had always wished for!

There are so many things that can be learned from work and life experience that can and should be applied to entrepreneurship when you start up late. What I learned in my early years helped me become a successful businessman. In this fast-paced world, there are so many opportunities, and technology has only expanded these possibilities. From owning an online business, to mentoring a new startup, the choices are plenty. Being in your 30s, 40s, or beyond can be a great time to start a business, especially if you've planned ahead financially, and have a solid support system around you.

Entrepreneurs succeed because they have the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to build a sustainable business, not because they a have longer runway. That's not all, as a seasoned professional, you've tasted failure too. So, whether, you have two big failures on your list or 20, they are a huge benefit, as each failure taught you the importance of being prepared, and the need for a contingency plan.

It truly is never too late as long you are committed, work hard, and never give up. So, if you're reaching your fifties, now is the time to launch your dream venture. Remember, that you're launching from a more stable foundation; so, all those years of experience will be put to good use through your entrepreneurial journey. Age is just a number, and should be considered as strength, not a hindrance.

Related: Entrepreneurship Has No Minimum Age: Lessons From BizWorld UAE's The Kidpreneur Award 2018

John W. R. Paul

General Manager, Exalto Emirates LLC

John W. R. Paul is General Manager, Exalto Emirates LLC, and a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO UAE Chapter) a global, reputed hand selected group of entrepreneurs who have scaled their businesses in the region, and have established themselves as pioneers and leaders in their space and contributing to regional impact.

Exalto Emirates LLC was founded in 1995 and is a wholesaler of marine equipment. The company represents over 80 reputed international manufacturers of high-quality marine components supplying to pleasure and commercial boat builders, shipyards, service providers, fleet owners and to the retail market thru a network of dealers. Operating from the head office in Sharjah and branch office in Dubai, the company supplies within the UAE, other GCC countries and across the greater Middle East, Africa, and Indian subcontinent.

With a very large well stocked warehouse, the company is able to satisfy most customer needs from stock. In support of the products, the company operates a service center from Dubai Maritime City providing installation assistance, commissioning, servicing, and warranty support. In 2018, the company launched the region’s most comprehensive e-commerce marine products website.

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