Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Entrepreneurship & Regional Development: An International Journal


Entrepreneurship has been proposed as a solution to extending working lives. However, little is known about how older (50+) entrepreneurs manage their personal transitions into entrepreneurship. In this paper, we propose to use a liminal identity work perspective to explore the identity paradoxes that older entrepreneurs experience during their transition into entrepreneurship and how they manage it. We use a qualitative study conducted over 14 months in the United Kingdom. Our analysis shows how older entrepreneurs confront identity paradoxes, interruptions and identity polarization in their attempts to shift from older identities and activity patterns into new ones. The entrepreneurs who manage to overcome the identity interruptions and polarization that the transition brings move away from an initial sense of isolation and bring creative understandings to older entrepreneuring processes. Our results expand current understanding of entrepreneurial identity work in liminal conditions, especially among older entrepreneurs, by looking at the tensions emerging between potentially new and customary identities and behaviours as an important aspect of entrepreneuring transitions rather than as negative frictions to be avoided.