Dr Alex Maritz How Baby Boomers Can Embrace Online Resources Interview

Dr Alex Maritz How Baby Boomers Can Embrace Online Resources Interview

Dr Alex Maritz How Baby Boomers Can Embrace Online Resources Interview

Tech-savvy baby boomers are expected to contribute an additional $11.9 billion to Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in retirement ventures each year, according to new research released.

The nbn™ Silver Economy report reveals increased connectivity and access to online resources powered by retail services over the nbn™ network is helping to redefine the way Australian seniors are spending their retirement.

Insights reveal Baby Boomers are expected to start 14,000 new businesses each year, more than double the startup rate of their Gen Y counterparts.

The report also shows retirees are embracing tech to make the most of their golden years with two thirds (67 per cent) going online to earn an income, more than half (58 per cent) using the internet to pursue passion projects from home and more than a third (37 per cent) going online to connect with their volunteering community.

Dr Alex Maritz, Professor of Entrepreneurship from La Trobe University said: 'We've traditionally seen hobbies like golfing, gardening and holidaying occupy our retirement but with the digital boom and growing access to fast broadband many older Australians are now turning online to start passion projects, set up new business ventures or use their time differently by volunteering."

'Australians are living a lot longer than we were 30-40 years ago and many retirees are not ready to hang up their working boots. Instead, they are jumping online to explore their passions, give back to society and start new business ventures in the hope of bolstering their retirement earnings and staying active. As the nbn™ network rollout nears completion, l expect this number will continue to climb as more Aussie seniors become aware of the online resources and opportunities at their disposal."

Key findings from nbn™ Silver Economy report:

Tech-savvy retirees turning to gadgets over golf: Aussies aged 50-65 years old have an average of five connected devices in the home with 33 per cent admitting to spending 3-4 hours online per day. Seniors are ditching traditional retirement plans with more than half (58 per cent) considering starting a business and more than a third (37 per cent) saying they would like to give back to the community through volunteering.

E-tirement gets a shakeup: Connectivity is enabling Australians to turn their retirement dreams into a reality, as more than half (55 per cent) are turning to online tutorials for additional education and inspiration when looking to get their business idea off the ground. Almost two thirds (61 per cent) prefer to head online to learn a new skill and more than a quarter (28 per cent) would consider studying a formal course online.

Money is a motivator: Earning an income is the biggest motivator for seniors looking to set up a new business with Tasmanians leading the charge (83 per cent), followed closely by Queenslanders (77 per cent) and retirees from New South Wales (65 per cent).

Optimising business online: More than half (52 per cent) of seniors claim they would run a predominately online business should they start their own company. The majority agree access to fast broadband would enable them to increase productivity (75 per cent) and allow them to buy and sell online (62 per cent).

The nbn™ network currently is available to almost one in two Australians, is scheduled to be three quarters built by mid-next year and complete by 2020.

Visit the nbn™ blog to read the full nbn™ Silver Economy report and learn more about how connectivity is helping to transform how Australians are spending their retirement.

Interview with Dr Alex Maritz, Professor of Entrepreneurship from La Trobe University

Question: How are tech-savvy baby boomers rivaling their younger counterparts?

Dr Alex Maritz: Seniorpreneurs represent the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship in Australia; with the demographic boasting an increased startup rate 54 per cent higher than its younger counterparts.

Tech-savvy baby boomers more than double the start-up rate of their Gen Y counterparts and are expected to open 14,000 new businesses per annum; contributing $11.9 billion to the GDP through retirement ventures.

When looking at why baby boomers are so successful in their retirement business ventures, the nbn Silver Economy research reveals that the majority (85%) believe they have the skills to engage in startup activities, with two thirds (57%) believing there are no barriers preventing them from engaging in start-up activities.

Question: How are baby boomers using technology to become entrepreneurs?

Dr Alex Maritz: Australian seniors are harnessing increased connectivity to access online tools and resources powered by the nbn™ network, to pursue passion projects and start new business ventures from home.

With a plethora of business resources now available at the click of a mouse, The nbn report revealed Aussies are harnessing online tutorials (55 per cent), online video tutorials (50 per cent) and online -how to' articles and listicles (47 per cent) to source inspiration and turn their business dreams into reality.

Increased connectivity is also enabling seniors to continue their education, with two thirds (61 per cent) revealing they prefer to head online to satisfy their education needs and over a quarter (28 per cent) considering studying through TAFE online.

Further to this, the nbn report reveals that over half (54%) of seniors would employ a mainly online model to operate their business, with almost two thirds (62%) wishing to sell online.

Question: What types of businesses are baby boomers expected to start, this year?

Dr Alex Maritz: The nbn Silver Economy report revealed the most popular business sectors for seniors starting new businesses were professional services (19 per cent), retail and wholesale trading (19 per cent) and recreation services including food, arts and accommodation (16 per cent). Informal sectors, such as Air BNB, have contributed significantly to senior startups. Senior often use previous skills, often gained in paid employment, to develop their new businesses.

This entrepreneurial spirit has grown from a desire to earn an income (67 per cent), pursue passion projects (58 per cent), keep mentally stimulated and self-employed (55 per cent), give back to society by volunteering (37 per cent) and remain physically active (30 per cent).

Question: What surprised you about the nbn™ Silver Economy report?

Dr Alex Maritz: We know seniors aren't shying away from technology, however I found it interesting to learn just how connected Aussie baby boomers are – with the nbn Silver Economy Report revealing that the average Australian aged 50 – 65 years old owns five connected devices in their home; spending 3 – 4 hours online a day. This was a real point of interest for me as it shows that Aussie seniors are not only using technology and the internet for business purposes, but also as part of their everyday lives!

Question: How else are the older generations using the internet to contribute to the community?

Dr Alex Maritz: Australian seniors are motivated by more than money when it comes to starting new business ventures with over half agreeing they want to start a business to contribute to society (25 per cent), lift their self-confidence (23 per cent) and combat feelings of isolation and loneliness (11 per cent). The nbn report also reveals that seniors in regional areas will have enhanced connectivity to senior entrepreneurship groups and networks.

Question: How can seniors learn about technology and the nbn™?

Dr Alex Maritz: Access to fast broadband via the nbn™ network means that seniors can learn new skills from the comfort of their own home – by connecting the various learning resources and associations that offer online courses and training.

The Senior Learning Network (SLN) – is an organisation founded on the very acknowledgement that there is an appetite for continuous learning from retired citizens. SLN has a variety of programs and uses Zoom Video Conferencing technology, meaning seniors can join interactive and live classes from the comfort of their own home.

Question: What online resources should we be embracing to turn our business dreams into realities?

Dr Alex Maritz: Seniors should harness the limitless opportunities that can be found online, with business inspiration, tutorials, educational resources and support networks and groups all accessible from your living room. Since over half (58%) of seniors are motivated to pursue passion projects, they may connect online with other like-minded individuals, sharing similar passions, hobbies and interests through online groups and forums.

When looking to start a new business, it is important to investigate all of the online resources and tools that are available. Whether you need a video conferencing application, help with your digital marketing, bookkeeping, collaboration tools or even access to third party resources such as assistants – they are all available at a click of a mouse online.

Interview by Brooke Hunter