Earlier this year I started working with the Princes Trust on their Tomorrow Campaign to inspire young people to make the most of their talent to start their own business. My mentee Faye Martin is going from strength to strength and I can't wait to unveil our amazing product on QVC UK.
Working with the Prince's Trust has been so eye-opening so when I was approached by PRIME, one of The Prince's other initiatives and was told about the challenges people aged 50+ face when they are under the threat of redundancy or workless I knew I had to get involved.
In the UK over 3.5 million people between 50-64 are economically inactive... That means one in three people 50+ are out of work compared with one in five people under 50. There has been a 40% rise in unemployment amongst over 50s in the last two years. The recession is hitting everyone hard but I was personally shocked to hear those figures.
What's worse is when you hear the stories of people working under the threat of redundancy because of their age or worse still those who've been made redundant and are not able to find work because employers see their age rather than a wealth of skills and experience.
Too young for state pension but deemed too old to be of value in the work force, those between 50-64 who are unemployed face a massive challenge. The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) is looking to empower people between 50-64 to embrace self employment as a solution to generating income and bolstering self worth.
A step too far? Not when you consider that 62% of over 50s feel that they are a mentally and physically fit as when they were in their 20s and 30s. The fact that 48% of over 50s are likely to succeed in their business within five years as compared with only 29% of 18-49-year-olds shows that they do have what it takes to find success.
Self-employment has other benefits for over 50s like flexible working hours and the chance to use the skills they've built up over a lifetime on something they're truly passionate about. Being your own boss has benefits in more ways then one but there are also real challenges which is why the work of PRIME is doing is so important.
They host workshops to help over 50s helping to build skills like networking, generating business ideas and sales. 4,603 people registered with the PRIME last year alone which shows that there is a real desire of over 50s to use self employment as a means of empowering themselves not only through financial security but also by regaining a sense of self worth.
I am personally committed to helping PRIME and over 50s make the most of their new careers so stay tuned for more updates on the work we're doing to raise awareness for this important initiative.
Follow Kelly Hoppen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kellyhoppen