Wendy Mayhew has been an entrepreneur for more than four decades. She co-authored a best-selling textbook, Building Your Dream, and produced a series of Real World Entrepreneur training videos.
"I love entrepreneurship. I love helping people. That is my goal."
But it wasn't until a publication asked her to write an article on older entrepreneurs that she began to advocate specifically for entrepreneurs over the age of 50. Writing the article was an eye-opener. It turns out this demographic is the most under-supported and underserved group of entrepreneurs in the world.
"I started advocating for them. I kept hearing over and over again that we were never, ever going to succeed. I had to prove the naysayers wrong. So I created the Wise 50 over 50 Awards to recognize and celebrate 50 Canadian entrepreneurs who started a business after 50."
She believes this group has so much to offer. But despite their years of experience, one of the biggest challenges they face is qualifying for financing. So, she wrote another book, WISER: The Definitive Guide to Starting a Business After the Age of 50, to help this cohort through the process.
Not all entrepreneurs over 50 are the same
She says there are three types of entrepreneurs over the age of 50:
"There are those who couldn't wait to retire to start the business they've always dreamed of.
The second group has always thought about it, but they don't know where to start.
The third group has been forced into entrepreneurship because they have no other way to earn money. And, being forced into something you don't know anything about is pretty darn hard.
My book is suitable for all of these categories. It's really to help you get started."
Ask her anything
Recently Wendy has started "ask me anything sessions," which is what she'll be doing as a GetSetUp Guest Speaker on May 17th.
"You can ask me anything and join a conversation. If you don't want to say anything, that's fine because you'll still learn something. We're going to make sure that you start gaining your confidence. And that has to come from within. But we want to talk about it and say, 'what is holding you back?'"
She wants older adults to know that it's very satisfying to start a business later in life and that they are uniquely positioned for success because of their life experience and knowledge.