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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Young, Fast, Rich: Debunking the entrepreneurship myth

Age not the key factor in entrepreneurship

In Summary

•Evidence from a research by Harvard Business Review points to entrepreneurial performance rising sharply with age before cresting in the late fifties

•Seasoned entrepreneurs understand that the art of entrepreneurship is a lifetime journey with highs and lows

“She built a company worth $500million in three years and she’s only 25.”

These are the kind of stories common in the media. Such content is sensational, but they do not tell the whole story of entrepreneurship. It is not a balanced view because the reality is different; here is empirical research to prove it.

In 2018, Harvard Business Review published an article based on the research paper titled, Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship, by Azouley et al. (2018). The research sought to understand the relationship between age and entrepreneurial success – and here are some of their findings: “We found that the average age of entrepreneurs at the time they found their companies is 42.” 

 They stated that: “Among the top 0.1% of startups based on growth in their first five years, we find that the founders started their companies, on average, when they were 45years old.” They confirmed that: “the average age of a successful startup founder is 45.” Their findings showed that age is not a disadvantage in entrepreneurship: “Older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed.”

Furthermore, they explained that: “Among those who have started a firm, older entrepreneurs have a substantially higher success rate. Our evidence points to entrepreneurial performance rising sharply with age before cresting in the late fifties. If you were faced with two entrepreneurs and knew nothing about them besides their age, you would do better, on average, betting on the older one.”

This research is important because the prevalent incomplete story about entrepreneurship puts much pressure on people and leaves them with a sense of inferiority if their lives do not match the narrative – it makes people struggle with shame, fear, and confusion. Many people are depressed because they are not billionaires by 30. Also, we have those who believe they are too old for entrepreneurship; well, we know that is not true.

Seasoned entrepreneurs understand that the art of entrepreneurship is a lifetime journey with highs and lows. It is a journey that requires patience, endurance, and continuous learning. Entrepreneurs who know this path well understand that it is more than getting rich – it is more about finding yourself. 

True entrepreneurship will bring you to a place of humility, gratitude, and empathy. You are grateful for the privilege to add value to people. The longer you journey, the less self-centered you become, and you seek to lift people. Age would mean nothing to you, only learning, growth, and change. Young, fast, rich, is a myth – unsubscribe.

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