Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes is launching a new charity to support youth entrepreneurship.
Holmes started Hootsuite in 2008 as a social relationship platform, growing it to more than 16 million users. With this new Vancouver-based initiative, League of Innovators (LOI), Holmes wants to provide online and in-person programs for the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs.
“Over the last few years Canada’s Global Innovation Index ranking has fallen to 15th globally,” said Holmes. “We should be one of the most innovative economies in the world, and by investing in young entrepreneurs, I believe we can make a long-term impact locally and globally.”
“Our program is created to foster learning outside the classroom to attract youth from diverse paths.”
– Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber
LOI has expressed a desire to support diversity in its goal to reach Canadians aged 15 to 25. Holmes and his team are trying to help young entrepreneurs transition from discovery to execution by offering education, mentorship, and resources. The board of directors includes a variety of influential personalities including Michele Romanow, Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and Clearbanc co-founder; Marc Kielburger, founder of WE; and John Ruffolo, CEO of Omers Ventures.
“Entrepreneurship comes in many forms and has many faces. Our program is created to foster learning outside the classroom to attract youth from diverse paths to engage in taking ownership of their future through entrepreneurship,“ said Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber, executive director of the League of Innovators.
Based on his past experience as a young entrepreneur, Holmes hopes to level the playing field and help young innovators navigate challenges like credibility, access to funds, and networks. LOI is not his first philanthropic venture; he has previously developed campaigns for social causes and joined B-Corporation status, and developed The Next Big Thing youth entrepreneurship program with Meredith Powell.
One of the first courses to be offered in November, “prototyping and entrepreneurship”, was developed in partnership with Microsoft.
“Our commitment to LOI is simple, we are raising up a community to create dynamic growth and leadership within the next generation,” said Edoardo De Martin, General Manager of Microsoft Vancouver.