‘The Next Big Thing’ Launches to Empower The Next Generation of Young Entrepreneurs

HootSuite Founder and CEO, Ryan Holmes, and Executive Director, Meredith Powell, launch “The Next Big Thing’’, a program aimed at accelerating young entrepreneurs complete with funding, mentorship, and experiential learning

VANCOUVER, BC – October 30, 2013 - Starting today, Canada’s youth will be invited to accelerate their future and see their ideas come to life – The Next Big Thing (TNBT) is for this generation’s rule-breakers, dreamers, and doers – the kids that dare to try. Created by Ryan Holmes, entrepreneur and CEO of HootSuite, and Meredith Powell, entrepreneur and philanthropist, TNBT will empower the next generation of leaders, helping them grow, learn, and re-imagine what it means to succeed.

Ten young innovators between 18-23 years of age will be selected to represent the 2014 TNBT cohort. Their six month experience will include working from the award-winning HootSuite HQ, as well as:

  • No-strings-attached grant funding. No equity, repayment, or shares are required by the foundation in return.
  • Hands-on personalized learning in a fast paced, entrepreneur-led environment. Participants will be supported by resources not only at HootSuite, but also through partners like Emily Carr University of Art & Design, which will provide access to design expertise and cutting edge prototyping tools such as 3D printing through their research labs.
  • Backstage passes to the foundation’s exclusive network of renowned mentors, investors, and advisors, including TED talkers, Dragons’ Den-ers, and founders who’ve had big exits.

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement. We’re looking for independent thinkers with cool, disruptive ideas who aren’t afraid to take their shot,” says Meredith Powell, Co-Founder & Executive Director of TNBT. “I want applicants to know that with us at ‘The Next Big Thing’, there’s no such thing as failure. We’re passionate about championing young entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, regardless of their GPA.”

“I’m thrilled to be in a position where we can provide a rising generation of innovators and game-changers with opportunities at a critical decision point in their lives,” says Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite. “I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when we equip these talented young entrepreneurs with the tools I lacked early on in my own entrepreneurial journey: vision, money, and community. I’m betting some of them will change the world.”

“You don’t need a university degree before you can do something incredible,” says 16-year-old Chris Bolton, one of an elite group of National Youth Ambassadors working with The Next Big Thing. When Chris was just 14, he taught himself to code through YouTube videos. The programming prodigy soon caught the attention of tech titans Microsoft and BlackBerry, and even Buckingham Palace’s Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, who likened him to the self-starting 17-year-old British founder of Summly. Now in the 11th grade, Bolton is just getting started.

Holmes and Powell know that Chris is but one of the thousands of young entrepreneurs with unique business ideas – ready to follow in the footsteps of rule-breaking powerhouses like Sir Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, Ellen DeGeneres, and Bill Gates. Most simply lack the tools and mentorship necessary to get under way.

TNBT will empower these youth with the resources, confidence, and real-world experience to create their own opportunities. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Ready to apply? Visit www.weareTNBT.com for more information. The application deadline is December 15, 2013. To make a charitable donation to the foundation or learn more about our Corporate Partnership Program, contact sponsor@weareTNBT.com.

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About The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing (TNBT) is a foundation dedicated to empowering exceptional young entrepreneurs to take on the world. TNBT delivers the action-oriented education, funding, and network that kids don’t get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for making ideas happen. Because every aspiring innovator deserves the opportunity to pursue their most creative, audacious, and ambitious dreams. To learn more, visit www.weareTNBT.com.

Contact:

Meredith Powell, @meredithjpowell
Executive Director, The Next Big Thing
mpowell@weareTNBT.com

 Sandy Pell, @HootSandy
Communications Manager, HootSuite
media@hootsuite.com