Owning It: Small Business
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Encore acts that found success

Don't be misled: Today's entrepreneur isn't by definition a confident 20-something striking out on their own to start the next Facebook or Twitter. In truth, it's more likely that an entrepreneur is closer to 50 or over—and the start-up is the beginning of a second, or even third, career.

According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, over the last decade Americans ages 55 to 64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than men and women ages 20 to 34.

So-called encore entrepreneurs take their accumulated skills and experience to start a wide range of firms, from socially minded nonprofits to for-profit enterprises. Sometimes it's just about relishing the freedom that comes from being their own boss.

Ellen Thrasher, director of the Small Business Administration's Office of Entrepreneurship Education, said men and women with 20 or 30 years in the workforce are well suited for entrepreneurship. "They have all this experience with time management and dealing with lots of different people—all of which is put to use when you run your own company."

Here are five encore entrepreneurs, ranging in age from 48 to 76, who have found success following unique business passions.

By Susan Caminiti, special to CNBC.com. Additional reporting by Kimberley Bainbridge
Posted 08 May 2015

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