It’s Wednesday the 18th of March 2015—the day before Breakthru 2015—after months of work for five teams, the idea of becoming entrepreneurs remains a dream. But three of them will become exactly that, overnight, receiving over $500,000 in investments and professional services from our partners to start their own company—and a new life.
The largest competition of its kind in Canada, Breakthru is the only time that NBIF invests in an idea. If your product or service is already fully-developed and you and your team are investment-ready, you may be eligible for an investment now through our Startup Investment Fund.
Breakthru starts with a call for proposals in the form of an application, 60-second video pitch, and executive summary. In this section you can link your video pitch only. A fully completed application is also required. You can access the application in the Participant Handbook section below.
Entries that meet the eligibility criteria proceed to the Breakthru Boot Camp, and end with the submission of a business plan. Each plan is reviewed internally and finalists are chosen. Finalists make a presentation to the Breakthru Selection Committee of entrepreneurs, NBIF representatives, and other venture capitalists. All participants are required to read and understand the Breakthru Participant Handbook before entering the competition. In it you will find all of the information you need about how to enter, fees, competition rules, what you’ll need to send to us and when. All entries must include a fully completed application.
Individuals and teams can enter Breakthru. To participate in the competition, submissions must demonstrate the following:
To be eligible, each participant must meet the following conditions:
What is not Eligible
Business ventures with substantial existing operations, buy–outs, expansions of existing business ventures, real estate syndications, tax shelters, internal ventures, joint ventures, franchises purchases and business ventures without sufficient rights to any third party intellectual property introduced.
1. When is the next Breakthru competition?
The next Breakthru competition will launch in the Fall of 2014.
2. How do I enter Breakthru?
Click here and fill out our application form. Be sure to consult our Participant Handbook for full submission requirements.
3. Can I send a DVD of my video pitch?
Yes. We accept MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI, WMV and MOV format, and make sure it works! However, we prefer that you use YouTube or Vimeo. If you make it private, make sure to give us the password in your application or add firstname.lastname@example.org to your invite list.
4. How can I be sure that any proprietary information will be protected?
The NBIF will make reasonable efforts to ensure that each submission is managed with confidentiality. As a precaution, participants should not provide any proprietary information or trade secrets with their submission – evaluations will largely be based on the business strategy and not the inner workings of the innovation.
5. What is considered innovative?
As described in the Participant Handbook, innovation is a product, service, process, or way of doing business that is entirely new, or uniquely improves what already exists—and has an identifiable economic value. That value can be expressed in terms of new or additional revenues or cost savings. A better way. In simple terms, a new or improved product, process or technology that makes or saves money.
For some local examples of successful commercial innovations, please visit the venture capital section of our website.
6. What if I don’t have a business plan, can I still participate in Breakthru?
Yes, the competition process will help you and/or your team develop your business plan and financial forecast.
7. Am I required to start-up and actively run a business if I receive a primary prize?
Yes. One of the main goals for Breakthru, as described in the Participant Handbook, is to encourage and support the creation and development of new and innovative business ventures.
8. Can teams participate in Breakthru?
Teams are welcomed and encouraged to enter Breakthru as long as they meet the requirements outlined in the Participant Handbook.
9. Can I participate in more than one submission?
No. Each applicant may only participate in one entry.
10. What is the Breakthru Boot Camp?
The Breakthru Boot Camp is a one-day event designed to assist participants who make it to the second round of the competition. Boot Camp will help you further develop your business case. Greater detail on the Breakthru Boot Camp can be found within Appendix 3 of the Participant Handbook. Participation by at least one member of each submission is mandatory.
11. Who should attend the Breakthru Boot Camp?
At least one representative from each submission must attend the Breakthru Boot Camp. Ideally, all members of team submissions will be in attendance. Eligible participants will be notified in advance of the Boot Camp and are subsequently required to RSVP.
12. Are there any terms and conditions on the primary prizes and when will they be awarded?
The primary prizes will be delivered shortly after the awards ceremony. Before receiving their prize, winners will be required to resolve any outstanding due diligence items with NBIF and enter into a simple shareholders’ agreement as detailed in the Participant Handbook.
13. What is due diligence?
Due Diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either the performance of an investigation of a business or person. The relevant areas of concern may include the financial, legal, labor, tax, IT, environment and market/commercial situation of the person or company. Other areas include intellectual property, real and personal property.
The Participant Handbook outlines the essential aspects of the Breakthru Business Plan Competition and has been designed to assist participants in preparing their submissions to compete. The competition process has been carefully and thoughtfully developed to create the best competition possible. The Participant Handbook outlines the eligibility requirements, the competition process and the terms and conditions.
All participants must fully read and understand the Participant Handbook prior to entering the competition.