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Meet the oldie-entrepreneurs

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Sir Alan Sugar believes that people of, ahem, advancing years have unique entrepreneurial qualities. Talking to the BBC in advance of tonight’s Money Programme on BBC2, "Too Young to Retire", the Amstrad boss and star of The Apprentice says: "I think they’ve got to a stage in their life where all of those commitments of having to look after their children and provide for their family and all that stuff have kind of gone away.

"Suddenly their entrepreneurial spirit that always existed inside them has sprung to life."

We tend to agree. Research shows that the most successful entrepreneurs aren’t the young bucks starting businesses in their twenties; rather, more experienced businesspeople in their thirties and forties. One of the BBC’s featured businesses, Annabel Rhodes and Penny Walker, started their Rhodes to Heaven beauty products business in their sixties. Brian Stannah, 72-year-old CEO of the eponymous family business Stannah Stair Lifts, told us recently that he had no plans for retirement or succession planning:“What did my father do about succession? Absolutely nothing. I don’t think it was ever discussed; it was just a slow, seamless process. What do I plan to do about succession? Absolutely nothing.”

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