SOURCE: THE NEXT BIG THING

The Next Big Thing

April 26, 2016 14:32 ET

The Next Big Thing Opens Nationwide Application for 2016

Canadian Fellowship Program Launches Search for Innovative Youth Entrepreneurs

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - April 26, 2016) - The Next Big Thing (TNBT), a charitable organization designed to empower young entrepreneurs from age 17-25, today announced it will begin accepting applications on May 2 to fill 15 limited spots for its 2016 cohort. Founded by serial entrepreneurs Ryan Holmes and Meredith Powell in 2013, TNBT's community includes world-recognized investors, influencers and founders.

"With the support of Canada's leadership community, TNBT has been able to nurture and propel a crop of Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs," said Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite and TNBT co-founder. "Our goal is to significantly contribute to the country's innovation ecosystem and we're doing this by sourcing and supporting the most interesting ventures across Canada."

Since launching, TNBT has helped fuel 22 youth ventures including SPAREBasecamp Card Co.ShareShed and Festfeed. From healthy sweets to an online tutoring platform, TNBT empowers the best and brightest innovators by providing them with the resources and networks necessary to succeed in the competitive business landscape. The most promising Fellows are also offered a Growth & Investment Track, which connects the most venture-ready startups directly to an extensive network of angel investors and venture capitalists. The organization aims to level the playing field for the next generation of leaders and champions early-stage entrepreneurs from across the country with diverse backgrounds and interests.

"One of the most powerful things about The Next Big Thing is the robust network of individuals that are part of the program," said Sarah Main, founder of Reach and 2015 TNBT Fellow. "The peer network of young individuals going through similar challenges and building scalable businesses is incredibly motivating and supportive."

Community support is integral to the continued success of TNBT programming. Among its community of 150 leading entrepreneurs, businesses and corporations, Shaw Communications has been a Founding Partner since 2013. This spring the organization announced a $50,000 donation reaffirming its commitment to celebrating and investing in young entrepreneurs across the nation.

"Shaw is pleased to partner with organizations like TNBT that value and foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity," said Chris Kucharski, President, Consumer, Shaw Communications. "We are eager to see the inspiring ideas this next group of young and emerging entrepreneurs has to offer."

The entrepreneurs selected to join the 2016 cohort will relocate to Vancouver and complete an eight-month intensive program at the Hootsuite headquarters. Beyond access to education resources such as, lean entrepreneur curriculum, business and personalized coaching, the Fellows will be integrated into a network of investors and founders.

To apply, entrepreneurs need to be between 17 and 25 years of age and need to submit their business venture at www.wearetnbt.com. Submissions will close June 30, 2016. For additional information on TNBT, please visit: www.wearetnbt.com.

About The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing (TNBT) is a charitable organization with a vision to level the playing field for the next generation of leaders to create progress and impact through business. Dedicated to identifying and empowering young entrepreneurs across Canada, and connecting them to the resources, tools, education & networks they need to succeed.

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. www.weareTNBT.com

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