6 Successful Startups Founded by Retirees

6 successful startups founded by retirees

You might think entrepreneurship is a young person’s game. You’d be wrong.

The 2016 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship found that 24% of new entrepreneurs were aged 55 to 64. And the trend of “retiring into entrepreneurship” is growing fast.

Meet 6 successful businesses that were started by retirees.

Denali Flavors

After a long career in product development with the Kroger Corporation, Wally Blume struck out on his own at the tender age of 62 to launch a new flavor of ice cream – Moose Tracks. Today that ice cream has grown into the companies Denali Ingredients and Denali Flavors, which offer more than 30 flavors to hundreds of distributors across the U.S.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Yes, the Colonel is real. Harlan Sanders was a 62-year-old military vet with a string of smaller chicken restaurants behind him. That is, until Sanders cashed his first social security check in 1952 and launched the finger lickin’ good brand now known as KFC.


After Mary Tennyson’s elderly mother fell and broke her hip, Tennyson was inspired to create the StashAll, a bag that can be used on most walkers and travel wheelchairs.

Women’s March

The largest single-day protest in American history was launched by a retired attorney in Hawaii who asked her Facebook friends if they were interested in marching on Inauguration Day. Teresa Shook soon joined forces with like-minded individuals and the Women’s March organization was born.

Women’s Automotive Connection

After retiring from managing an automotive body shop in 2007, then 62-year-old Gail Dunn decided it was time that women stopped being cheated by mechanics and car salesmen. So she launched Women’s Auto Connection, a program that helps women buy, finance, and negotiate purchasing a car and trading in their old ones.

The Thesaurus

Alright, this one isn’t quite a new business, but Peter Mark Roget was 73 years old when he published the now legendary Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. After a difficult life in which he compulsively made lists as a coping mechanism (it’s possible he suffered from OCD), Roget decided to put his obsessions to good use, compiling that now-familiar friend to writer and student everywhere.


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