Want to be a successful innovator? Get some grey hair first

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According to Newsweek, older workers are more likely to innovate than their under-35 counterparts:

As it turns out, the average founder of a high-tech startup isn’t a whiz-kid graduate, but a mature 40-year-old engineer or business type with a spouse and kids who simply got tired of working for others, says Duke University scholar Vivek Wadhwa, who studied 549 successful technology ventures.

What’s more, older entrepreneurs have higher success rates when they start companies. That’s because they have accumulated expertise in their technological fields, have deep knowledge of their customers’ needs, and have years of developing a network of supporters (often including financial backers). “Older entrepreneurs are just able to build companies that are more advanced in their technology and more sophisticated in the way they deal with customers,” Wadhwa says.

The  2009 Kauffman Index on Entrepreneurial Activity found that the fastest growing segment for entrepreneurship in America is in the 55-64 age group, with people over 55 almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between the age of 20 to 34.  That’s  good news for our economy as Baby Boomers  enter their entrepreneurial prime, since new companies create the vast majority of new jobs.

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On August 18, 2011

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