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Life Course Perspective on Entrepreneurship in Older Age in Germany and Poland




International Research Project 2017-2021

Mature entrepreneurship is gaining momentum. In both, numerical as well as in socio-political and economic terms. This research intends to examine the process of becoming an entrepreneur in later life with relation to previous career paths in order to establish how life course experiences determine the shift to self-employment. It explores a basic question about how individual and institutional conditioning impacts on the process of making of mature entrepreneurs. The thesis proposed here is that the entrepreneurial motivations and activities of older adults are outcome of a dynamic and reciprocal relationship between their personal and occupational life paths on the one hand, and societal and structural feedback received from institutional (formal and informal) actors on the other hand.

The research will contribute in an innovative way to the study of mature entrepreneurship in ageing societies in the context of contemporary academic and political debates about the alternative models of economic activity of older adults. Moreover, the project aims to provide empirical evidence for studying the variations in modern life courses and their institutional embeddedness.