06/05/2015 01:33 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT

Four Canadians To Get $100,000 To Drop Out Of School, Pursue Startup Businesses

Associated Press

Four Canadian youth will soon be paid $100,000 to drop out of school and spend more time on their startup businesses.

The students from Ontario and Quebec are winners of the Peter Thiel Fellowship, a controversial two-year program that encourages young people to turn innovative ideas into successful businesses.

The 2015 winners range in age from 18 to 22 and have all launched small, technology-oriented companies.

Toronto student Cathy Tie co-founded a startup focused on improving the accuracy of genetic testing.

Harry Gandhi, of Waterloo, Ont., is designing contact lenses that can monitor glucose levels in diabetics, while Liam Horne, of Cambridge, Ont., is developing software to help retailers find the best place to open stores.

Montreal's Simon Tian has founded a company designing wearable technology to help people perform day-to-day tasks in any environment.

The four Canadians are among 20 youth from across North America chosen to take part in this year's fellowship program, which is launched and funded by billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

"College can be good for learning about what's been done before, but it can also discourage young people from doing something new, especially when it leaves them in debt," Thiel said in a statement.

"Each of the fellows charts a unique course, but together they have proven that young people can succeed by thinking for themselves instead of competing on old career tracks."

Also on HuffPost:

Photo gallery College Dropouts Who Made It Big See Gallery
America Votes
The latest polls, breaking news and analysis on the U.S. election from HuffPost’s Washington, D.C. bureau