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Ladies' Launchpad / Kathy McShane

Published 10:16 am, Sunday, April 6, 2014
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When I was a young woman, my role model was my grandmother. She had 10 kids and 24 grandchildren and was always singing. She had an amazing outlook on life and a great sense of humor.

When the children left, she decided to pursue her own path. With all those children, she never worked outside of the home. Once she did, she realized how much she loved it. She worked until she was 82. Her job was not a glamorous one; she worked at a company cafeteria and loved it.

It seems that my grandmother was a trendsetter. Today, we have a whole movement of women that we call "she-preneurs," women who are 55 and older and have decided it is their time to pursue something that they love and that will have a positive impact on society. In fact, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, the demographic that has had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity over the last decade is women 55 to 64.

These women are wiser; they feel younger; they have acquired skills through the years that they want to put to good use and they want to share all of this with others. They are not content to stay at home and baby-sit their grandchildren.

I work with a number of these women and I am always amazed at how fearless they are to tackle new technology. Most people believe that older women are terrified of technology. These women, in fact, embrace it. It has opened up so many doors for them to which they may not have had access before simply because of their age. They can work remotely, develop their own schedules and, most important, be their own boss. It provides an opportunity for them to connect with a whole new population. With the click of a mouse, they can be anywhere in the world. By the time women reach 50, they realize it is their time to pursue a business that will reward them, not only monetarily, but also emotionally.

Most "she-preneurs" share their success by giving back to the community. They hire locally, buy from local merchants and support local causes. It's wonderful in so many ways, not the least of which is their contribution to the health of our economy. Instead of diluting the economy, they are stimulating it.

So, do you know any "she-preneurs?"

Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at kmcshane@ladieswholaunch.com or ladieswholaunch.com.southwestct.