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Help and Encouragement for People Starting Businesses Over Age 50

  People who want to start their own business a little later in life got some financial help and encouragement Tuesday from the Small Business Administration here in Syracuse. 

Marcia Lafave is one of these so-called ‘Encore Entrepreneurs.’  Lafave started a home care business called The Right Care to help people with medical needs at home.   

“…help them out with house cleaning, bathing, maybe there’s a person that has had a stroke, a TBI, and needs help giving insulin to themselves; any help that we can give them to ensure their safety in their home.” 

Lafave admits to feeling some financial insecurity starting a business.  She worked another job and struggled finding the balance.  Her advice?

"Don’t give up, keep going after your dream because it will happen. There’s a lot of work involved, but if you want to make it happen, it will happen."

Lisa Eklund presented at the event for entrepreneurs over 50.  She also left a job to be her own boss…and admits to some fear of failure.

“So probably the financial aspect, just that security.  That was the biggest leap to say, ‘I’m cutting the security cord; there’s going to be no more paychecks and I’m going to have to create the finances.’”

Eklund now is a Life and Career coach, and also has an equestrian coaching business called The Mindful Equestrian.  She says she could have stayed at her career but wanted to do something more authentic.  

The S-B-A event explained financing help available for encore entrepreneurs.  Region Director Bernard Paprocki says personal needs and the economy might be factors.

“Unless you have a real plan going into retirement, to keep you busy and your mind occupied, something like this is probably really good for you emotionally and physically.  We also know a lot of folks lost a lot of money in the recent recession and they don’t have enough money available right now to retire.  So whether they no longer have a job or are trying to supplement their income, the idea of operating and owning your own business is a great option.”

The SBA works with different agencies that can provide people with direction and training.

"For example, we’re sitting here in the Wise Women’s Business Center, this is an SBA funded program." Paprocki said.  "We also maintain other counseling and training programs, one of which is our small business development center network located at Onondaga Community College." 

The S-B-A and A-A-R-P joined in an ‘encore mentoring’ program.  Both organizations have online help and resources to assist people over 50 start their own businesses.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.