May 12 2021

Older Entrepreneurs Leading the Way

We had the opportunity to talk with many great entrepreneurs doing research for our book, The New Builders. I was struck by how thoughtful, determined, and gritty they were. As most readers know, the book focuses on entrepreneurs from a diverse set of backgrounds – people that truly represent the next generation of founders in the United States.

One of the trends that we observe in the book is that the rate of entrepreneurship among older Americans is actually quite high. In fact, across all age groups, the fastest-growing group are entrepreneurs 55 and older. There are a number of interesting reasons for this that we talk about in the book. And we tell the stories of handful of older American entrepreneurs to help highlight these trends. One of my favorites was Fred Sachs who founded and eventually sold a lumber company as well as a commercial door and hardware company. He’s also my wife’s cousin, once removed (that’s her dad’s first cousin)!

Fred Sachs on Grapewood Farm in Virginia

Initially, Fred planned on retiring but his hobby of growing wheat on his farm near Alexandria, VA turned into a new venture selling flour to regional bakers. Grapewood Farm now produces a variety of organic small grains and stone ground flour to customers across the Mid-Atlantic region.

We highlight his story and the importance of older Americans in business in a piece in nextavenue that we just released this week. I hope you’ll check it out and see why our nation’s focus on Silicon Valley being the seat of innovation is not entirely on the mark.