VANCOUVER - The founder of the social media management tool Hootsuite started two businesses as a teenager, and now he wants to help other young Canadian entrepreneurs make it big for themselves.

Ryan Holmes began his rise into the business world by opening a pizza restaurant and a paintball company when he was in his mid-teens.

He's now offering a total of $100,000 in grants to 10 youth between 17 and 22 as part of his recently launched non-profit foundation The Next Big Thing.

"About 100 kids have applied from all over the world," he said of the competition, which is open until Dec. 15.

Winners will get the kind of hands-on training that junior entrepreneurs need but can't access through the typical education route, Holmes said.

"I think there's a bit of a disconnect between traditional education programs and entrepreneurs," he said at Hootsuite's headquarters in Vancouver. "Often you hear about amazing entrepreneurs who ultimately are college dropouts."

"A lot of entrepreneurs are very experiential and hands on learners and they need to just go and get into things. The goal of TNBT is to just get people into things, help accelerate them into a successful venture as soon as possible."

Holmes launched the foundation with fashion and film entrepreneur Meredith Powell, who also forged a business path at a young age.

"We're really looking for teens who might have started a business or have an idea to start a business," she said.

Along with $10,000 in grants, each innovator will learn skills from "top names" in the business world and get six months of education at Hootsuite's headquarters, where they'll learn about investing and understanding how to start a business, Powell said.

"We're bringing in incredible mentors, doing one-on-one sessions with them."

Hootsuite, known as a "dashboard," allows users to send messages to various social networking sites or groups — such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin — at the same time and also attach images or documents.

This week, Hootsuite, which boasts seven million users around the world, was named the only Canadian company on technology blog Mashable's list of top tech companies in 2013.

Google, Twitter and Netflix were among the other notables to be recognized.

Ambrosia Humphrey, Hootsuite's vice-president of Human Resources, said everyone from moms to musicians to presidents of companies has the opportunity to use the analytics firm's platform as a marketing tool.

"The Mashable recognition was huge for us as a company," she said, calling Hootsuite a "scrappy underdog" that's become part of an online social revolution since it began in 2008.

In August, Hootsuite announced it had raised $165 million, making it one of the biggest venture capital financings in Canadian history.

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  • HootSuite's community department handle 6 million users.

  • See the empty desks? <a href="" target="_blank">They're hiring</a>.

  • See the beer taps?! Look at them!

  • Fresh fruit kept on hand to keep scurvy away.

  • Ping pong table, 2 Foosball tables, and picnic tables keep the office casual and comfortable.

  • Of course they have a cabin-themed nap room.

  • Is that a mural of beautifully detailed owl quills or surfboards?

  • Exercise room to keep employees active, flexible.

  • Oh who's this? Just <a href="" target="_blank">CEO Ryan Holmes</a> chilling on a office leather couch with his dog.

  • It almost looks like a sauna in there.

  • Indoor picnic table meetings, they happen here.

  • All eyes on HootSuite employees.

  • Log stumps are mandatory in West Coast office style.

  • Tent meeting spaces. BYOB marshmallows.

  • Whiteboards everywhere.

  • Nothing says startup style louder than using Apple products with a mean lean.

  • Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Human Resources, shows off an intern's successful unorthodox pillow resume.

  • Humphrey shows what pouring beer at 10 a.m. looks like.

  • Shhh, a developer is taking a rare nap.

  • Panorama view of HootSuite's rooftop view.

  • Panorama view of HootSuite's cafeteria.

  • That's a wrap!