Young whippersnappers aren’t the only clients of SCORE mentors as more than 17 percent of the population in Pima County is 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs over 50 — also known as “encore entrepreneurs” — comprise one the fastest-growing groups starting small businesses. AARP and the SBA have teamed up to provide a range of resources to entrepreneurs and small-business owners over 50.

Tameka Montgomery, associate administrator of the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development, believes that if you are one of the 63 percent of Americans planning to work during retirement, you can use your experience and knowledge from your career to start a business. She encourages encore entrepreneurs to take advantage of several free resources to help them get their businesses going.

Many of the certified mentors for Southern Arizona SCORE are encore entrepreneurs themselves. They offer their experience and time to guide new entrepreneurs through the maze of starting or growing a small business. Their one-hour mentoring sessions in several locations in Pima County are free.

Go online to access SBA’s small-business learning center that offers free courses on “How to start your own business” and a course designed for women entrepreneurs over 50.

You can find more encore-entrepreneurship information at and

Also look at the SBA online course tailored for the 50+ crowd who want to start a business, at

Diane Diamond is the vice president of media relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to, send email to or call 505-3636.