PrintAARP South Carolina and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are teaming up to hold an Encore Entrepreneur mentoring event April 22 in Columbia. The event, which is free and open to AARP members and non-members, is designed to provide counseling, mentoring and training for individuals who like to start or grow a business, especially those aged 50 and older.

Last year, nationally, AARP and SBA matched “encore entrepreneurs” with successful business owners and community leaders for advice and assistance.  With Mentor Month and other collaborative programs during 2012 and 2013, AARP and SBA already have totaled nearly 120,000 engagements involving counseling, mentoring and training of encore entrepreneurs.

This month, state AARP offices, SBA district offices, and SBA Resource Partners will host more events around the country.  They will include speed mentoring, which allows mentors and entrepreneurs to share information during twenty-five minute sessions.

The Columbia session is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22 at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, 930 Richland Street, Columbia, SC. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. with the Matchmaker mentoring sessions beginning at 8:30 a.m.  The event is free and open to the public will end at 11:30 a.m. To register, call 803-765-7381 or email lmartin@aarp.org

“AARP knows that many older Americans pursue entrepreneurship as a way to generate income and strengthen financial security,” said Teresa Arnold, AARP South Carolina state director.   “For many of these workers, it is also a way to turn a hobby or passion into a paycheck.  AARP creates real possibilities by connecting experienced workers with the resources and guidance they need to help start or grow a small business,” Arnold added.

Mentor Month in April is part of a larger effort by AARP and SBA to provide a range of resources this year to thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners over the age of 50.  The events will help connect encore entrepreneurs with mentors such as those from SBA’s network of Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE chapters who can help throughout the life of an entrepreneur’s business.

According to a recent AARP survey, “Staying Ahead of the Curve 2013:  AARP Multicultural Work and Career Study,” 15 percent of workers 45-74 are self-employed.  Additionally, 13 percent of those who are current wage and salary workers say they plan to start a business once they retire.  Small business ownership is a good option for many baby boomers.  Small business owners who get long-term counseling may see bigger sales, hire more workers, and their businesses have more longevity.

Preregistration is strongly encouraged by calling 803-765-7381.