The Gendered Aspects of Age Capital for Navigating Entrepreneurship

  • Isabella Moore

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


For an increasing number of older individuals over 50, entrepreneurship is becoming a means
of finding new opportunities, fulfilling long held ambitions or, of augmenting retirement income.
Yet, despite its potential benefits to individuals and the economy, understanding of later-life
entrepreneurship is often only limited to describing this phenomenon as unnuanced and
uniform, while ignoring substantial gendered heterogeneity in decisions about later-life
entrepreneurship. This doctoral thesis extends the current view of later-life entrepreneurship
to a nuanced, interconnected process. A qualitative research methodology is selected,
underpinned by interpretative philosophy. To improve understanding of the gendered aspects
of why and how later-life entrepreneurship is ignited, semi-structured interviews were
conducted with 32 individuals over the age of 50 living in the United Kingdom. The analysed
data informed an emergent, dynamic model that conceptualises the gendered aspects of
acquiring age capital for venture creation in later life. The model captures the triggers,
conflicting drivers, enablers, and barriers associated with this phenomenon. It illuminates laterlife entrepreneurship not as a simple action, but as a dynamic, complex process and explains
the gendered complexities of motivational triggers, the conflicting drivers of the normative
environment and the process of accumulating different forms of capital for venture creation. A
key contribution of this research is extending the use of three theoretical lenses (one lead
theory and two supporting theories), which highlights the limitations of being guided by only
one theory, and the explanatory power offered by applying aspects of several theoretical
frameworks. With regard the contribution to knowledge of the empirical findings, a nuanced,
gendered perspective identified from the findings, contributes towards creating distinctive
challenges for policy makers and other stakeholders designing business support.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJudith Scully (Supervisor), Mark Hart (Supervisor) & Nicholas Theodorakopoulos (Supervisor)


  • Older entrepreneurs
  • Mature entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurship and Gender
  • Female entrepreneurship
  • Older entrepreneurship

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