Mid-career entrepreneurial learning

Rae, David (2005) Mid-career entrepreneurial learning. Education + Training, 47 (8/9). pp. 562-574. ISSN 0040-0912

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400910510633116

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive



– Recent research on entrepreneurship education has emphasised school, college and university students, with less attention being paid to entrepreneurial learning among people in older age groups. However the ageing population of the UK and other developed countries means that there is a need for an increasing proportion of the existing working population, from a broad social and demographic background, to develop entrepreneurial skills in mid‐career in order to find new opportunities for economic activity and to extend their working lives. This goal requires better understanding of the learning needs and processes of mid‐career entrepreneurs (MCEs) between the ages of 35 and 55. This article aims to enhance the understanding of mid‐career entrepreneurial learning by exploring how and why people develop entrepreneurial skills in mid‐career, how these skills are deployed in working on opportunities, what types of learning are most effective, and conclusions for the design of MCE learning experiences.


– A research method was used with emergent MCEs participating in a postgraduate entrepreneurship module. This evaluated learning, skill acquisition and practice to inform both learner and educator.


– This paper explores the types of opportunities identified and the learning methods used. It proposes implications for mid‐career learners based on a framework for entrepreneurial learning, in the context of the broader perspectives of mid‐career and mid‐life change and development. It develops a career stage model for entrepreneurship, and discusses the implications for the design of learning programmes for MCEs.

Research limitations/implications

– MCEs have enhanced lifelong and work‐based learning and experience compared with younger people, but display great variety in their aspirations, work and career experience, educational attainment, ethnic and national diversity, and participation in social networks. The article proposes ways of enhancing mid‐career entrepreneurial learning.


– This paper makes a distinctive contribution to the understanding of entrepreneurial learning in a significant age group.

Keywords:Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial learning
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:13827
Deposited On:14 Nov 2014 11:58

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