Why it’s important to support an elderly entrepreneur/innovator

Brian Hinton in his bakery, early May 2019

The innovative competition entry by Brian Hinson, Joy of Keto, and Calgary’s legendary Lakeview Gluten-Free Bakery in Calgary is something fresh and new. Brian is committed to confronting attitudes that perpetuate stereotypes and negative messages about ageing in small businesses in Canada.

At 78, this icon of the baking industry in Calgary, Alberta and internationally, is setting out in a dramatic new direction to address the emerging dietary needs of Calgary residents.

A dramatic change in direction for a small bakery

This is not the first time this pioneer has changed direction. In 1996, Brian Hinton was the first baker in Calgary to introduce fresh-baked gluten-free products, following an enquiry from a director of the Canadian Celiac Association (see: https://www.celiac.ca/).

She asked him if he could produce gluten-free baked products locally.

Brian agreed. At first, the bakery made only two gluten-free breads: white and brown. Now the Lakeview Gluten-Free Bakery is legendary among Calgarians for its commitments to meeting the dietary needs of particular groups.

What Brian Hinton has learned in a long career (and from his recent forced “retirement”) is that wisdom brings its benefits. He’s pushing back against ageism. He believes, with modern-day researchers, that age confers very effective coping mechanisms on people and the cognitive benefits of ageing allow us to question the powerful messages of the mainstream narrative.

This Chair Rocks

For Brian, like many others (see This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite: thischiarrocks.com), there is no value in supporting negative stereotypes about older workers, employees, innovators or entrepreneurs. Research reveals that these stereotypes do not stand up to scrutiny. There is enormous value is allowing older workers to continue to be self-sufficient. Some argue that the whole notion of retirement is becoming obsolete (Applewhite, This Chair Rocks, 2019, p. 157).

Brian Hinton is not done yet.

His innovative food technology work in a small, local business supports a movement to make discrimination based on age as unacceptable as any other kind of discrimination.

For older people and older innovators and entrepreneurs, in particular, there is an enormous gift in the reality of our “bounded future”. In his small business, Brian must make hisnew Joy of Keto line of fresh baked goods a success, as he is not going to live for another forty years. Or thirty. Or even twenty.

However, he has the joy of going deeply into his new business enterprise and finding it to be enormously satisfying.

Should Brian retire at 78?

Brian Hinton

There may be those in his family or community who believe that, really, at 78, Brian should retire. Brian sees that attitude as a form of elder abuse. He tried retirement, and it wasn’t for him. He does not see his age as an excuse for being dismissed. He feels that his business mind is sharper and more creative now than it was some years ago.

We know that spending money on older people is a realistic and powerful form of investment. And it sends a potent corporate message. Let’s not stigmatize old age or accord older small business competitors a second-class status. Rather, let’s accept the accomplishments of having come this far. Regardless of our background or opportunities, we’re all old people in training, whether we know it yet or not.

It’s now widely accepted that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The older brain has greater access to information in more creative and holistic ways.

The stigma of ageing

The stigma of ageing can be deeply discrediting. That is why we are writing about ageism in our blog.