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Over-50s lead way in setting up own firms

OVER-50s who may have taken early retirement or redundancy have been urged to start their own business.

The County and City Enterprise Boards are organising a residential workshop on July 1 and 2 in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, to help the over-50s develop their business ideas.

It will give an insight into what is needed to research, start and develop a business.

Hugh Reilly, of the County and City Enterprise Boards, said: "Ireland, like the rest of Europe, has an ageing population, people are living and working longer."

"People in their 50s and 60s have better health, are more vibrant and seek to make a dynamic contribution to their communities."

He says people who have taken early retirement or redundancy will be best placed to have enough capital for a strong start-up.

Organisers are hoping to attract aspiring entrepreneurs like Aidan McCormack, of McCormack Training and Consultancy, and Carol Gilbert, of MadeInWestCork, who both set up businesses after passing 50.

Aidan, who attended a senior entrepreneur workshop last year, was inspired to set up a successful training and consultancy business. He comes from a background mainly in the dental and healthcare sector and is one of the speakers at the two-day event.

Mr McCormack says he hasn't looked back since he made the leap to set up and running his own business.

Carol Gilbert is another success story who came to run their own business relatively late after establishing MadeInWestCork in June last year.

"In 2011, the year after my husband died, I travelled abroad seven times, catching up with family and friends," she said.

"Each time I was returning from a different country I tried to buy a memento made in that country but found it difficult to do, as most gifts were mass- produced in China or the US."

She believed that despite the recession, the plethora of good food, wonderful crafts and products made in West Cork deserved a wider platform.

Organisers recommend early booking by contacting your local County or City Enterprise Board at www.enterpriseboards.ie.