What’s Next Summit to Reveal How Boomer Entrepreneurship is Driving America’s Post-Recession Economy

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Tenth annual event will highlight strategies for entrepreneurial success, forming profitable partnerships, and how to turn subject matter expertise into a lifelong business venture

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While the media have idolized 20-something year olds as the primary innovators and startup founders shaping our new economy, the fact is that their parents and grandparents are far more entrepreneurial and are the unsung heroes in our nation's recovery.

According to a 2012 Kauffman Foundation report, the United States is on the verge of another entrepreneurship boom – fueled not by kids in their parents’ garages, but by their parents and grandparents. The research indicates that Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 are launching entrepreneurial businesses at a rate one third greater than people aged 20-24 – a fact that is literally changing the face of small business and dismantling myths about America’s start up culture as a province of the very young. On March 12, the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit will delve into forces at work in the explosion of entrepreneurship among people in their late 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.

“While the media have idolized 20-something year olds as the primary innovators and startup founders shaping our new economy,” said Mary Furlong, producer of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit and CEO of Mary Furlong & Associates, “the fact is that their parents and grandparents are far more entrepreneurial and are the unsung heroes in our nation’s recovery. Boomers are launching successful businesses that allow them – finally – to be the captain of their own career ship, leverage the expertise they’ve built over decades, and reinvent their lives at a time when prior generations were checking out of the workforce altogether.”

The 2013 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit will showcase a variety of boomer entrepreneurs who’ve done exactly those things, built formidable partnerships with larger companies, and created exciting new companies that solve challenges they and their peers have faced as they age.

Amy Hilliard is a poster child for today’s Boomer entrepreneur. After a long career as an executive in Fortune 500 companies in the personal care and consumer packaged goods industries, Hilliard decided to go into business for herself. Renowned among her family and friends for her delectable pound cakes – made from a family recipe – she turned her baking passion into a hugely successful business, The Comfort Cake Company, authored a motivational book, and embarked on a speaking career.

Hilliard, along with Myrna Blyth, founding editor of MORE Magazine and editorial director of AARP, will discuss the key ingredients for successful reinvention at midlife on a panel entitled, “Life Reimagined.” GrandCare System’s Laura Mitchell, and GreatCall’s Madeline Pantalone will explore the key ingredients for developing business models that work and leapfrogging one’s way to success by leveraging networks and partnerships with more established companies.

Other speakers, including Sherwin Sheik, founder of CareLinx and Rie Norregaard, co-founder and creative director of OMHU, will share how they’ve successfully integrated technology and design to reinvent the caregiving and walking cane industries. They will share valuable lessons they’ve learned in modernizing products and services aimed at seniors that no entrepreneur entering the boomer or senior space will want to miss.

Every year, What’s Next brings together the country’s leading Baby Boomer strategists and marketers at an event designed to introduce new research, products and services that truly represent what is next in the Boomer market, and this year is no different.

In addition to sessions on Entrepreneurship and Life Reimagined , the 2013 event will feature topics such as:

  • Money, Retirement, and Grandparenting
  • Tech Trends in the Boomer and Senior Market
  • Business Ecosystem of Caregiving
  • Mobile Apps, Marketing, and the Future of E-Commerce
  • Health and Wellness Trends
  • The Future of Social Security
  • The Future of Home

The 2013 Summit sponsors include AARP, Caring.com, CareLinx, EmergencyLink, FaceTime Strategy, Link-age, Inc., Great Call, Inc., Home Instead Senior Care, Innovate LTC, Lotsa Helping Hands, MetLife Mature Market Institute, Silverado Senior Living, SilverRide, Starkey Hearing Technologies, Therapy Tubs, Vibrant Nation.com, and The Hartford.

Attendees can expect to gain insight into the latest Baby Boomer research, market strategies, and success stories and connect with thought leaders, brand managers and entrepreneurs who are shaping the Boomer market. During the Age Beat Luncheon, attendees will have the chance to interact with leading analysts, bloggers, authors and age beat reporters. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with decision makers who get deals done.

Speakers to date include:

  • Andy Cohen, founder and chief executive officer, Caring.com
  • Scott Collins, president and chief executive officer, Link-age
  • Steve French, managing director, Natural Marketing Institute
  • Jody Holtzman, senior vice president, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • Lily Lam, director, Visiting Nurse Service of New York
  • Laurie Orlov, principal, Aging in Place Technology Watch
  • Ilya Oshman, senior vice president, financial planning & analysis, Weight Watchers
  • Jerry Ruzicka, chief executive officer, Starkey Hearing Technologies
  • Gail Sheehy, bestselling author and journalist
  • Sandy Timmermann, associate vice president and director, MetLife Mature Market Institute

For a full list of speakers, registration, and event updates, visit http://www.whatsnextsummit.com.

About What’s Next Boomer Business Summit
The 10th Annual What’s Next Boomer Business Summit is produced by Mary Furlong & Associates. The Summit is affiliated with the American Society on Aging (ASA) Aging in America Conference, being held on March 12 – 16, 2013 in Chicago, IL.

For more information, visit http://www.whatsnextsummit.com.

About Mary Furlong & Associates
Founded in 2003, Mary Furlong & Associates (MFA) works with companies seeking to capitalize on new business and investment opportunities in the Baby Boomer market. MFA provides business development, financing strategy and integrated marketing solutions to entrepreneurs, corporations and non-profit organizations serving the 50+ market. Mary Furlong, Ed.D., the firm's founder and CEO, has guided the offline and online 40+ market strategies of leading corporations and non-profit organizations for more than 20 years. In 2011, Furlong was honored as one of the top 100 Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Furlong is Dean's Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business, and previously founded SeniorNet and ThirdAge Media. Her latest book, Turning Silver into Gold: How to Profit in the New Boomer Marketplace (FT Press), was published in 2007.

More information is available at http://www.maryfurlong.com.

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