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55/Redefined and Specsavers Sponsor 'Unretirement Entrepreneur of the Year' Category at this Years' GBEA Awards

On November 20th, the first ‘Unretirement Entrepreneur of the Year’ will be crowned at the Great British Entrepreneur Award's gala ceremony at the London Grosvenor Hilton Hotel. The new category, awarded by Specsavers and 55 Redefined, will celebrate inspiring and ingenious founders, aged 50 or over, who have launched successful businesses in their later years.

  • First ever ‘Unretirement Entrepreneur of the Year’ award to be given by Specsavers and 55/Redefined at The Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
  • This first-time category will honour inspiring entrepreneurs aged 50+ who have launched successful businesses and social enterprises.
  • The shortlist includes an octogenarian whose invention is helping to cut energy bills, the founder of a ‘digital legacy vault’ and a Welsh lord with a growing organic farming and skincare empire.
  • These incredible ‘unretirement’ success stories demonstrate how the talent and vision of more experienced business leaders can make a huge contribution to British business that is particularly important as the working age population gets older every year.

The Shortlisted ‘Unretirement Entrepreneurs’, A Diverse Group Hailing From All Over Britain, Include:

  • Sheila Hogan, a former Dragon’s Den contestant from Scotland who is reinventing how end-of-life administration is handled with her ‘digital legacy vault’ Biscuit Tin.
  • Octogenarian Cecil Creighton Martin Lewis from Swansea, who invented a heated seat cover to help his wife manage her pain and is now mass producing the energy-saving solution.
  • Lord Robert Newborough, who turned his family estate in North Wales into a premium organic produce export business with a skincare range to boot.
  • Stella Waterhouse, a retired mental health worker who set up a social enterprise and a travel business to help families cope with autism.
  • Shashi Aggarwal, founder of Spice Kitchen, who hasfeatured on The Hairy Bikers TV show.
  • Colin Spencer Halsey, who turned a failing traditional wool yarn company in Cornwall around into an award-winning natural fibre business.

The number of older entrepreneurs is rising. The 2022 Scale Up Index by Beauhurst reveals that 22% of directors at scaleups are over 60, while the average age of scaleup directors is 52.5 years. When 55/Redefined’s Lyndsey Simpson sat down with Sir Richard Branson earlier this year, he identified that the over-50s were one of the fastest growing segments in his Virgin StartUp programme.

Presenting the award will be 55/Redefined’s CEO & Founder, Lyndsey Simpson and Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins – both women have founded new businesses in their forties and are testament to the success this award celebrates.

"At Specsavers, we are continually growing our joint venture partnership and offer motivated self-starters the opportunity to run their own business. Age should not be a barrier to that. Older entrepreneurs often have a wealth of professional and life experience, which can be a significant asset in making informed business decisions and handling various challenges that arise. Their maturity can lead to better decision-making," says Dame Mary, who started Specsavers 40 years ago with her husband Doug from their spare bedroom. The group now has 43m customers and employs 41,500 people around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

As a leading promoter of age diversity in the workplace, 55/Redefined celebrates workers and businesses like Specsavers, who are championing age-inclusivity, and also the increasing number of 50-somethings who have made it on their own.

"We’re thrilled to be partnering with Specsavers on this exciting new GBEA category celebrating inspiring unretirement entrepreneurs," said Lyndsey Simpson, CEO and Founder of 55/Redefined. "Age is not and should never be a barrier to entrepreneurial success. Together, we have founded this award to showcase the talent, drive and innovation that over-50s can bring to starting their own business, with the hope that it will inspire others to be bold and take that first step."