Hootsuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes has officially launched the League of Innovators, a national Canadian charity with a mission to mobilize the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
“I think that right now, when we look at the next generation, they are thinking ‘entrepreneurial’ now more than ever,” said Holmes in an introduction video. “The vision of the League of Innovators is to create a cohort of young business people that go on and create huge change.”
LOI for short, the new Vancouver-based initiative is aimed at Canadians aged 15 to 25 and offers educational courses, mentoring programs and experiences. The program supports the young entrepreneurs from discovery to acceleration, and ultimately building what they’re calling “entrepreneurial acumen.”
Holmes said it gives young Canadians the resources they need to make an economic impact as an entrepreneur.
“I was a young entrepreneur myself, and I’m now in the fortunate position to help accelerate and support young innovators and disruptors by leveling the playing field and helping them to overcome unique challenges such as credibility, access to funds, and networks,” said Holmes in a release.
LOI’s current portfolio of programs include online sessions and in-person crash courses. One of these courses is on “prototyping and entrepreneurship,” developed in partnership with Microsoft, will run in Vancouver this November. Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber, the executive director of LOI, said the “outside of the classroom” program wants to attract youth from diverse paths, noting that entrepreneurship comes in many forms and has many faces
The League is backed by an impressive board of directors that includes Omers Ventures CEO John Ruffolo, Clearbanc co-founder and Dragons’ Den star Michele Romanow, and WE founder Marc Kielburger.
Holmes has previously funded programs that empower the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs including The Next Big Thing, a youth entrepreneurship program with Meredith Powell.
He hopes the program will help tackle Canada’s falling ranking on the Global Innovation Index where the country sits in the 15th spot.
“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.”