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Helping start a small business at 50 SBA and AARP join to provide assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration has teamed up with AARP to provide counseling and training to entrepreneurs over age 50 who want to start or grow a small business.

The federal agency and the membership organization expect to train 100,000 so-called "encore entrepreneurs" through SBA's online training courses and its nationwide network of business mentors and counselors.

"No matter what your age, if you have an idea or a business that's ready to move to the next level, the SBA wants to make sure you have access to the tools you need to start and grow," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a news release announcing the partnership.

"We know that working side-by-side with AARP, we will be able to reach baby boomers and Americans over the age of 50 who have years of professional experience working for others and are ideally positioned to step out and become their own boss. And, in doing so, they will become job creators and drivers of economic growth in their communities."

More than 70 million Americans are over age 50, and many could start a business, Mills said. "Many baby boomers are working beyond retirement age and choosing to stay active and engaged in the workforce," she said. "For many older entrepreneurs, starting a small business can be an opportunity to transform a lifetime hobby or interest or years of professional experience into a lucrative line of work."

As part of the partnership, the SBA has set up a special website, offering an online self-assessment tool to help entrepreneurs understand if they are ready to start a business. The site also provides information to help with business planning, professional counseling, financial services and local resources. The website is preneurs.

The two partners will also jointly develop and host an online course, self-assessment and webinar series, on top of a suite of online courses the SBA already offers at