7 business founders who got a late start

It’s never too late to start a business. Even though the public celebrates the glorious success stories of young entrepreneurs such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Catherine Cook, creator of MyYearBook.com, global research shows that in fact the average successful business founder is a fortysomething.

Research from MIT and other global surveys reveal that when it comes to entrepreneurship, founders in their 20s are the least likely to build a top business. Why? Well, with experience, connections and (hopefully) capital accrued, the business founders in their forties have many reasons to be more successful than their younger counterparts. Check out these entrepreneurs from all over the world who prove that creative breakthroughs don’t necessarily only happen in your youth:

Henry Ford introduced the Model T car when he was 45

It took a few business failures before Henry Ford introduced his Model T car to the public in 1908. At that time, he was 45 years old. Henry Ford may not have invented the automobile, but his innovative business approach, leadership ability and visionary thinking forever transformed the automotive industry, shaping the 20th century and beyond.

Momofuku Ando invented instant ramen noodles at 48

The Taiwanese-Japanese inventor and businessman invented instant ramen noodles, Cup Noodles and vacuum-packed portions of instant noodles for astronauts. He was 48, 61 and 95 years old when these food inventions debuted the market. Momofuku Ando claimed that the secret of his long life was playing golf and eating Chicken ramen almost every day.

Reid Hoffman was 43 when LinkedIn went public

Social networks and tech companies are founded by youngsters, right? Not exactly! Reid Hoffman was 35 when he co-founded LinkedIn and 43 when it went public. Today, LinkedIn is the number one online business networking platform – and Hoffman is reportedly worth US$ 3.3 billion. 

Vera Wang entered the fashion world at age 40

After she was passed up for the job of new editor-in-chief at Vogue magazine, Wang decided to start a career in fashion. She was 40 years old when she finally designed for her own brand. Today, she is one of the most famous wedding and celebrity designers in the world. 

At 39, Amancio Ortega founded Zara

Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Oysho and Bershka are all highly successful fashion brands. The man behind these brands is the Spanish entrepreneur Amancio Ortega Gaona. In 1975, he opened his first fashion store called Zorba – which was soon after renamed Zara. Born into poverty and with no high school degree, Ortega Gaona is the wealthiest retailer in the world today. He keeps a low profile and has supposedly never given a public interview. 

At 42, Robin Chase co-founded Zipcar

The co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, Robin Chase, met the other co-founder of the company on a playground while supervising their kids. Both mothers were aged 42 when they decided to go into business together. Their business relationship didn’t last; however, Zipcar has become the world’s largest car sharing and car club company. 

Zong Qinghou was 42 when he set up the drinks company, Hangzhou Wahaha Group

At the age of 42, Chinese businessman Zong Qinghou founded a drinks company – with a loan of US $22,000. Today, the Hangzhou Wahaha Group is China’s largest beverage producer that includes 150 subsidiary companies. Zong owns more than 80 per cent of the company and is China’s richest person.

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