‘Silver entrepreneurs’ on starting business in their 50s -‘Age shouldn’t be a restriction’

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Husband and wife Rajiv and Anu Chandra founded Mum & You in 2018. The business, which sells eco-friendly hygiene products designed by mums for mums has grown exponentially since its founding and is now a seven-figure company.

During an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Anu, 54, explained how the couple’s drive to make a difference by supporting mums and their children was the catalyst for Mum & You.

On how the business came to be, she said: “As you get older, you have already done a lot of the things that you hope to do, and in our case, a lot more than we ever expected to do.

“At some point, you say, ‘What am I here for? Am I going to do something more than just work and get my salary?’. We just felt that, if we were ever going to do it, then this was the time to do it. We have these years of experience and we felt we could actually create something that would make a difference in the world.”

Rajiv, 56, explained the importance of helping mothers, who are more often the primary carer for a young child, to help look after their children during the important early stages of their development.

He said: “If you talk to some of the charities like National Literacy trust, Save the Children, or the Department of Education, you see that almost 25 to 30 percent of kids in the UK who go into reception every year are not school ready, which means they lack basic communication skills.

“That’s really what was the problem we sought to resolve. The brain development of a child is so strong in the early years, so it’s really the very young children who we can influence and change their lives.

“The way to do it is by supporting moms, instead of directly supporting children. Why not do it through supporting moms because the bonding, chatting, playing, reading, etc, which is what develops a child’s communication skills is really done by the mom.”

Anu added: “We believe in a world where every child has the right to live well, live strong and live to meet their full potential.”

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Rajiv and Anu believe the business and life experience they have as ‘silver entrepreneurs’ has been crucial to their success.

Rajiv said: “Having run companies for decades and focused on getting the right team, getting the right products, getting the right people, and also having this network of people around you who could support you both from a financial point of view and a non-financial point of view, if we ever needed to bounce something off someone, there were always friends and contacts who would help us do that.”

“I think one part is just the skills you have, which really supported us, and on the other hand, it was that coming together with the passion that we have, seeing our kids grow up and how fortunate they have been, to say ‘can we combine all the skills that we have developed all this time, with this passion to change the future of many children?’”

Anu said: “I don’t think that if we didn’t have all these years of experience behind us, we could have had the courage to do what we’re doing now. It’s everything, because we have put our whole life experience into creating something ambitious. I think it’s only because of what we’ve already lived through that we feel we have the courage to do this.”

Many people have difficulty finding jobs as they get older, but Rajiv believes the experience that older workers bring can be invaluable.

He said: “We’ve got other people in the company who are over 50, and I can tell you with that experience that comes with them, as long as you’re physically able to do it, and you’re passionate about it, I would give someone in their 50s a job in a heartbeat if they fit it the role.”

On the benefits of running your own business, Rajiv said: “I think it gives you the control, it does give you that freedom, but then it gives you the entire responsibility as well.”

Anu added: “You get a chance to really create a dream and live it, which you can never do in a corporate role.”

Rajiv believes that age should not be an obstacle for anyone looking to take their career into their own hands and run their own business, as long as they have the passion and drive to make it a success.

He said: “The first thing is that, if you don’t have the passion for it, you might want to continue what you’re doing, but if there is something which bothers you, there’s something that you want to change, there’s something you want to do, then age should not be a restriction.”

More than four out of every 10 new businesses in the UK are started by people over the age of 50, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Sometimes referred to as “silver entrepreneurs”, the enterprising over-50s are aiming to cut through the stereotype that starting a business is a young person’s game, and continuing to contribute their wealth of experience to the economy.

Anu said that the feeling of learning something new and going back to being a beginner can be a liberating experience.

She said: “You have to be of the mindset that you are willing to learn. Because, after working for so long, it’s very easy to think you know it all. When you start something, you have to go back to being a learner, you have to be humble, you have to, once again experience the world as it was when you first started.

“There’s definitely no place for excess ego. You basically have to know that in the world that you are in today, there are many facets to it that you may never have been exposed to before. And I think that’s rejuvenating actually.”

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