There are a number of labels given to and adopted by business-owners, such as ‘entrepreneur’, ‘olderpreneur’, ‘mumpreneur’ and now even ‘guru’ or ‘ninja’.The news that the word ‘mumpreneur’ has now been entered into the Collins English Dictionary got us thinking about how the terms are used and how businesses themselves feel about them.
The most recent results from a survey by Prime Business Club, an organisation that helps people over the age of 50 get back into work through self-employment, found that 40% of the 196 participants “loathe” the term “olderpreneur”, compared to 9% who say they’d go as far as to “like” it. 11% said they had no strong feelings either way.
Prime defends its use of the term but accepts it can be seen as irksome. Ian Stobie, marketing manager for Prime, says on the organisation’s website: “’Olderpreneur’ is undoubtedly a bit distasteful or irritating. Maybe that’s why it sticks in the mind so well.
“We’ve found that older entrepreneurs themselves are split about whether they like it, but we’re not sure exactly how opinion divides, hence the poll. It’s more ugly or clumsy or trivialising than truly offensive, in my view. We use it because it works. People find us by using ‘olderpreneur’ as a tag or search term.”
Even the term entrepreneur can be problematic, with disputes about what it actually means to be an entrepreneur and suggestions that only certain people can legitimately claim the title. Some people wouldn’t dream of calling themselves an entrepreneur, opting instead for the less-flashy business-owner. Others would go all out, declaring themselves a “social media ninja” or “web guru”.
The title ‘mumpreneur’ – now defined in the Collins English Dictionary as ‘a woman who combines running a business with looking after her children’ – is now obviously part of common speech. Some, though, say they feel that the term ‘mumpreneur’ is patronising and others argue that we hardly talk about ‘dadpreneurs’ at all (although the term is not unheard of), so why single mums out?
Laura Rigney, co-founder of Mumpreneur UK, a mumpreneur support network in the UK and organiserof the Mumpreneur Conference and Awards, said: “Mumpreneur has always been a word that causes controversy. You either love it or hate it. Some see it as a degrading term that belittles their business efforts but hopefully now they will change their minds.”
She adds: “I have always been proud to call myself a ‘mumpreneur’. In one word, it explains that my children are the reason I started my business and that they are also the reason I will strive to be as successful as possible. After all, if I hadn’t had my children, I would never have started my business or met some of the amazing achievers that I’ve met on my journey.”
What do you call yourself when you’re talking about your business? Do you find any of these business terms irritating or offensive or could you not care less how people label you as a business-owner?