The Baby Boomers Are Rocking The Startup World!

by Gerald Duran

Editor's note.  We've recently come across Gerald and Cana.Global, a faith based accelerator in Southern California.  You can see some more information about what he, and others in the workplace ministry space are doing here, and we thought that his perspectives on older entrepreneurs are intriguing.  Here's a guest blog from Cana.Global's founder, Gerald Duran, as originally posted on Medium.  Do you know of others in the faith driven entrepreneur industry that we (and others) should know about and include please let us know!


Wait a minute, don’t most people envision the startup entrepreneur as a 20-something tech genius in a hoodie? You might be surprised to learn that it’s actually the graying 50-something in dad jeans.

When we launched CanaGlobal in Los Angeles, a faith-based entrepreneurial accelerator geared towards the bootstrapped startup, we began hosting a series of events for future entrepreneurs who were entertaining the idea of launching a startup. We were surprised to see so many boomers at our events. If fact we asked ourselves, where are the millennials?

50% of millennials are already embracing some form of entrepreneurial freelancing, but the majority are still struggling with the concept of what it takes to create a customer acquisition system, producing actual revenue. This is the core of what we do at CanaGlobal.

Some Millennial Tidbits

Despite more than half of millennials having high expectations of becoming millionaires, 1-in-5 still rely on their parents for financial support. They expect to retire at 56, though won’t start saving for retirement until age 36.Amazingly, 60% of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs with 90% recognizing entrepreneurship as a mentality, they fail to understand the difference between innovation and entrepreneurship. Ideas and innovation alone won’t produce revenue and profitability. Entrepreneurship is the action of monetizing innovation and the boomer startup founder gets this. Why? Experience matters. As a result, the struggling millennial freelancer is one of our strongest segments at CanaGlobal.

Back to the Boomers

The fact is boomers are twice as likely as millennials to be planning a new business and when it comes to boomers starting a business, the odds are greatly in their favor. Older entrepreneurs have the uncanny ability to see the need, or improve upon, a product or service based on practical knowledge.

Boomer Entrepreneur Statistics

  • 67% are profitable.

  • 76% rate their happiness at an 8+ (1–10 ).

  • Boomers make up half of American business owners.

  • Boomer startups are outpacing all other startups.

  • Most bootstrapped their startups.

  • The most popular industry is business services.

  • Boomer entrepreneurs are likely to live in California, Florida, Texas, New York and North Carolina.

What’s Driving the Rise in Boomer Startups?

The typical boomers we see at CanaGlobal have a substantial amount of professional experience that they intend to leverage into an entrepreneurial for-profit or nonprofit venture. There are a variety of factors driving the rise of entrepreneurial startups from the boomer generation.

  1. The Gig Economy — The rise of the 1.4 trillion gig economy, fueled by 57 million freelancers, has created a freelance economy. Businesses have gravitated towards hiring part-time or freelance instead of full-time. Half of millennials are now freelancers. This is a major workforce disruption. If the trend continues, projections show that by 2020, 43% of the US workforce will be freelancers.

  2. Aging out at 40 plus — Over forty types who have lost their jobs due to restructuring and layoffs are finding it more difficult to find another job at the same rank and level of income.

  3. Dream Job. Dream Income. — The landscape has changed and the traditional path to the proverbial dream job with the dream income no longer exists for the majority of American workers.

  4. Generational Culture Tensions — From workplace environments to agile teams, how we get things done differs greatly amongst our generations. Right or wrong, each generation has a preconceived bias against the other generations.

  5. The Rise of Purpose — Most people feel as though they were meant to do something greater than what they are doing. Across Gen Z, Y, X and Boomers, the paycheck alone is no longer enough. People demand purpose, if they are going to invest 100,000 plus hours into their careers, they want to do something that matters

  6. The American Dream — Despite the of realities of this world, people still want the American Dream. A place to call home and do life with family. Live debt free. Take vacations. Enjoy work/life balance. Have the resources to retire one day.

Who Are These Boomers? They fall into two groups:

Aged out at forty plus— Take John, a business professional with 35 years of training experience. After getting laid off he came to the realization that many companies wanted a younger version for less money. After wasting 12 plus months in a frustrating and unproductive job search, he decided that the best path to his continued career success was to launch his own training company, SnackLearning. Even in the red hot tech industry, a whopping 43% of 1,011 U.S. tech workers surveyed by job search site Indeed said they are worried about losing their position because of how old they are — and 18% say they’re are concerned about the issue “all the time.”

Pursuing Exceptional Purpose —According to Gallup, only 33% of the American workforce feel engaged at work. There is a shift from a culture of “paycheck” to a culture of “purpose”. These boomers want meaning and purpose as they use their talents and strengths. They want their job to fit their life. They want to create their own exceptional workplace and the ability to create their own success path. This includes a flexible schedule they control, working from home as they desire, becoming more agile and collaborative wherever and with whomever they choose.


Why The Startup Accelerators?

Most businesses fail due to uneducated enthusiasm.

They say 9 of out 10 business fail. Why? They run out of cash. The venture-backed startup can’t get that next round of capital and the bootstrapped startup lacked the “know-how” to create a customer acquisition system capable of producing enough revenue and profit to sustain itself. Whatever the reason … they simply ran of money. They lack entrepreneurial “know-how”.

It’s Biblical! “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

There are two types of entrepreneur accelerators. The majority focus on teaching founders how to succeed in the world of venture capital with a big emphasis on raising capital and an exit strategy. In the minority are accelerators like CanaGlobal, more of an entrepreneur bootcamp focused on helping bootstrapped startups learn the “know-how” to creating revenue with a huge emphasis on developing the ultimate customer acquisition system. There is a need for both. There are startups that require venture capital, but there are just as many that don’t. They could bootstrap. The problem is that too many are looking for an elevator instead of just climbing the stairs. And choosing not to bootstrap is choosing not to launch, because the investors are simply not going to fund them.

If you can’t creatively turn $1 into $10, why do you expect to be able to turn $1 million into $10 million?

Most of the of venture capital people I know bootstrapped their own companies. If they took capital, it was late in the game as they had already built companies that produced millions in revenue, the capital provided a way to scale. Most have a love-hate view of VC.

Why The Faith-based Entrepreneurial Accelerator?

At CanaGlobal, we attract future entrepreneurs who feel that they have a calling in the marketplace. We have a vision of activating Kingdom-driven entrepreneurs into the 7 mountains of societal influence: family, religion, education, government, media, arts/entertainment, and business. We do that by connecting the dots between business, purpose, success and faith.

We are in the midst of a 7 mountain reformation, a miracle in the marketplace where the greatest harvest of our time will take place: outside the church walls. God is transforming the lives of a generational mix of Gen Z, Y, X and boomers who are stuck in their pursuit of the proverbial dream job and dream income. They demand purpose. These amazing future-entrepreneurs arrive from different cultural camps only to become united in a Kingdom vision to transform the marketplace. Why not? It’s where they will spend 100,000 plus hours of their lives working, why not make it count?

At the intersection of faith and entrepreneurialism is the realization that the Church (body of Christ) have allowed God to get kicked out of the 7 cultural mountains of societal influence. The political implications are stunning.

These Kingdom-minded entrepreneurs are on a mission of influence, bringing God back into the marketplace. Instead of seeing the Bible as a book of rules that very few will actually read, they see it as a book of promises from God himself. They recognize that entrepreneurial life has many challenges. But they’re willing to accept God’s help in every part of their business and personal lives. People take notice of this and they want to know if God will help them find meaning and purpose in their lives as well.

As co-heirs and co-laborers with Christ, seated positionally on the throne with Christ (right next to God Himself), our identity of who we are in the marketplace changes greatly. We have a delegated power and authority. Who we are is not defined by what others say, our INC 500 status or our last IPO, instead it’s defined by who God says we are.

When you have someone that doesn’t know who they are, everything they do will be an effort to try to make themselves into something — to create their own identity. They will devote every effort to become a person of significance, instead of understanding that they are already significant.

If you put your identity in what you can do instead of who God says you already are, then you’ll be on this perpetual cycle trying to earn approval and gain something that you already have.

-Brandon Lee, Co-Founder at Orenda Education Initiative

We are faith-based at CanaGlobal not because we identify as Christian, but because of what we do. Startup founders get the “know-how” to successfully advance from idea-to-launch, creating revenue and profitability in the earliest days; but also how to identify and fulfill God’s place and purpose for their lives … at home and in the marketplace.

Cana is the location where Jesus performed His first miracle. CanaGlobal’s mission is to activate 1 million entrepreneurs into their dreams, doing something that matters … because when 1 million God-backed entrepreneurs connect the dots between business, purpose, success and faith … they change the world.

Special thanks to rawpixel on Unsplash for the cover photo.