AT 56, Michelle Browne feels like she is just coming into her own as a businesswoman.
Having built a career in administration while raising her family, at the age of 50 she did a community services course before becoming a case work manager and doing voluntary work.
"It was always in the back of my mind to do it but I never had the time until my kids were adults. I wanted to be more independent, financially too, and have more qualifications," she says.
With long hours taking a toll, she returned to part-time work in administration to have more flexibility to care for grandchildren and her own parents.
Then two years ago she found herself launching her side hustle, Belle Glamping & Decor, specialising in corporate events and luxe glamping wedding guest accommodation, with her daughter Angie on the Central Coast.
"I had a vision for glamping because for years we have gone camping and I always glamp up the website - it started as a joke, with friends suggesting I do it," she says.
Mrs Browne is now keen to enrol in the Business Boomers program, which runs on October 24 and 31.
Run by The Business Centre on the Central Coast in partnership with the NSW Government, it assists people aged 50 with mentoring and training to help them start a business.
Australian Human Rights Commission figures show women aged 55 and over were the fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians between 2011 and 2016, with an increase of 31 per cent.
The Business Centre's CEO Steve Wait said it was Iikely the trend would continue given the ongoing shortage of affordable housing, the ageing population and the significant gap in wealth accumulation between men and women across their lifetimes.
"We have worked with more than 25,000 businesses in our 34 years of operation. In recent times we have seen a strong demand for business assistance from an older group of people," he said.
Keenly aware of the needier members of society following her community services work, Mrs Brown's interest in the program stems from a desire to build business confidence.
"It's just having that initial confidence to do that for myself, because my family are not from a business background, I am the first one ."
She believes her age group has a lot to offer employers and business in general.
"Experience is important, working on the job is a really big advantage and for such a long time," she says. "If you have a dream believe in it and go for it, that's all I can say, because though it is daunting, if you don't try you don't know."