“When you’re very young, you have nothing to lose, but you actually don’t yet have the skill-set to build a business – even though you might have a good idea,” says Co-author of the study and Executive Vice-President Jason Clemens. “On the other hand, if you’re 45 or older, all of the sudden you have a whole bunch of financial responsibilities – you might be looking down the road at retirement.”

Clemens says there’s a so-called “sweet spot” for entrepreneurs, which is late-20s to early 40s – with the median age being 32. He goes on to say many industrial countries, including Canada, are experiencing a decline in “sweet spot” entrepreneurs.

“One of the explanations that we think is being missed in term of ‘how do we explain this decline in business start-up and entrepreneurship?’ is that we have less people that are in that ‘sweet spot’ who have a high propensity to start businesses and be entrepreneurs,” explains Clemens.

He says the challenge for older workers is that they are much more risk-diverse and have more to lose than those of a younger demographic.

“We tend not to see a lot of 50-year-olds [or] 55-year-olds dropping their employment status and going to start their own business.”

Broadening the scope of the discussion to the entire workforce, including the elderly, Clemens says their needs to be a shift in the way the workforce is perceived from both employees and employers.

“We have to encourage older workers to stay in the labour-force,” Clemens concludes. “Right now we have a myriad of policies that actually encourage older workers to retire early – which when you have an aging population is that exact opposite of what you want to do.”