The man who financed Facebook is offering 20 two-year $100,000 fellowships to teenagers with big ideas – as long as they leave university. Jon Marcus reports

Before he was 21, Peter Thiel was a ranked chess master and founded the Stanford Review, a libertarian newspaper at Stanford University, which he attended.

Now a billionaire venture capitalist and hedge fund manager with a sometimes controversial reputation for pushing unconventional ideas, Thiel is betting that others also can succeed at a young age – and don’t need a university education to do it.

The San Francisco-based founder of PayPal and co-founder of Facebook is offering two-year fellowships of up to $100,000 (£63,800) to 20 entrepreneurs or teams of entrepreneurs aged under 20 in a worldwide competition that closes this week.

With the money, the recipients are expected to drop out of university – Thiel calls it “stopping out” – and work full time on their ideas.

“Some of the world’s most transformational technologies were created by people who stopped out of school because they had ideas that couldn’t wait until graduation,” Thiel says. “This fellowship will encourage the most brilliant and promising young people not to wait on their ideas either.”

Read full story in Times Higher Education

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