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Enterprise support for older entrepreneurs: the case of PRIME in the UK

Teemu Kautonen (University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)
Simon Down (Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Laurie South (Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), London, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 14 March 2008




The objective of this paper is to examine the potential for and barriers to older enterprise as well as the role and contribution of specific enterprise support policy, focusing in particular on socially disadvantaged older people.


The paper takes the form of a single case study of the Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) with multiple data sources, including a synthesis of current literature, PRIME self‐evaluation reports, interviews with PRIME personnel and results of a recent survey of 283 individuals who had contacted PRIME for enterprise advice and support.


The paper finds that, with respect to older enterprise support policy, the tentative results presented in this study seem encouraging in terms of a positive social and economic role for older enterprise support work. However, due to the limitations of the data, a number of questions need additional clarification in future research. Longitudinal research designs are required to investigate in more detail the additional social benefits generated by older enterprise support as well as concerns regarding deadweight and over‐investment.


The paper brings the experience of enterprise support practitioners into the debate about older entrepreneurship.



Kautonen, T., Down, S. and South, L. (2008), "Enterprise support for older entrepreneurs: the case of PRIME in the UK", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 85-101.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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