May 6, 2014 Sara Chereskin,
There is a pervasive myth that the only successful start-ups emerge from college kids with a light-bulb idea, deeply funded by venture capitalists, creating billion dollar businesses.
“Nothing could be further from the truth”, says Sean Branagan of Syracuse University.
Media entrepreneurship expands well past twenty-somethings, and well past high-scale digital only plays. There is a bonanza of opportunities for new lifestyle, small business, entrepreneurial and socially-responsible ventures — as well as high-scale, high-growth digital media ventures.
Most people don’t realize the average age – and success metrics – are much different than they imagined. Mid-career professionals are a key demographic in this continually exploding sector. With the most life experience and skills, these are the people poised to be the most effective and successful entrepreneurs. They have a keen ability to identify a market void, or substantive need, and are willing to use their own money to pursue it.
Current research from Encore Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs, Meeting Needs,* shows that one in four Americans between the ages of 44 and 70 — about 25 million people — are interested in starting their own businesses or nonprofit organizations in the next five to 10 years. This is further supported by consistent research from the Kauffman Foundation showing that “…Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity of any age group.”
Shifting life circumstances bring new challenges, and opportunities. There’s a unique crossroads where past experience and future options generate exciting ideas for truly purposeful new ventures. The internet and digital technologies are disrupting the established media landscape, providing established media pros – and innovative thinkers – a new outlet.
Four years ago Melanie Notkin started SavvyAuntie. As a single woman and former marketing executive with American Express, The New York Times and L’Oreal, she noticed childless, professional women were being ignored. She now has a growing empire with major advertisers like Disney and Pepsi, built around her brand and her audience.
Another exciting new venture, CanUWorkTomorrow.com hits on a different but equally undeserved sector. As mothers with older school-aged children, Cindy Touma and Karen Frankel discovered the rich untapped, evergreen niche: the returning-to-work woman. CanUWorkTomorrow.com connects highly-educated, experienced candidates with higher level part-time and project work. They are bridging the gap between companies short term needs with a community of women ready to jump back into the working world, without an initial long term commitment. Their innovative model creates Flash Hires: the right job for the right person at the right time. Job seekers and employees can communicate directly, or use their concierge service for faster pinpoint connections.
If you’ve ever dreamed in digital and wondered how to get started, there’s a unique program debutting in Manhattan this summer. Sean Branagan, the Director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, is offering an invaluable 6-week program for early or mid-career media professionals eager to get the insider’s guide to starting a new venture in the media industry.
As a serial entrepreneur, interactive marketer and evangelist for innovation and start-ups at Newhouse, he teaches courses in Entreprenuership and the future of digital media, coaches startup founders and is on advisory boards of several early-stage companies.
This program was created for people who want to work on their own ideas and to learn how entrepreneurs THINK, ACT and CONNECT to create something out of nothing.
A recent Forbes article** put it succinctly: “companies with well-educated…co founders who have history together have built the most successes.” Professionals at this level have more extensive networks and more experience managing teams and use this cumulative savvy to deliver their vision.