Breakthru is a start-up competition to encourage the creation and development of entrepreneurial, innovative business ventures in New Brunswick (N.B). We host this province-wide competition to give participants a unique opportunity to access start-up capital, mentoring, and support.

Entrepreneurial New Brunswickers interested in pursuing the development of a new and innovative business ventures in the province are encouraged to enter the competition for a chance to win start-up investment cash to help launch their businesses.

Cash investment is made in the form of a SAFE investment and in-kind services. In addition, participants receive coaching from the province’s leading professionals.



Breakthru: Newcomer, NBIF’s start-up competition is in partnership with the New Brunswick International Students’ Association, Planet Hatch and the University of New Brunswick. Entrepreneurial New Brunswick international students and newcomers who are interested in pursuing the development of a new and innovative venture in N.B. are encouraged to enter the competition.

Participants will be in 1 of 2 streams: Newcomers or International Students for the chance to win 1 of 2 grand prizes:

  • First Place: Newcomer Stream– $25,000 SAFE investment and acceptance into Planet Hatch Newcomer Startup Accelerator program (no fee)
  • First Place: International Student Stream– $25,000 SAFE Investment and acceptance into Planet Hatch International Student Startup Accelerator (no fee), Permanent Residency for up to 5 co-founders and their immediate family
    • Additionally, in the International Student Stream, participants who are registered UNB students have the chance to win: 1 of 10 UNB Entrepreneurship Internship Awards

To be eligible, submissions must demonstrate the following:

  • A significant and growing global market.
  • An identified target in the market with a clear gap, pain or need.
  • Technological and commercial feasibility of the proposed business venture.
  • Degree of innovation inherent to the proposed business venture.
  • Ability to generate a sustained competitive advantage.
  • Talented team with relevant background.
  • The potential for economic impact on the province of New Brunswick.

Individual Participant Requirements
An individual or team may enter the competition by proposing a new and innovative business venture. Individuals are only permitted to participate in one submission. To be eligible, all individuals involved in the submission must be:

  • At least the age of majority (i.e., 19 years of age and up).
  • Entitled to establish a business and work within the province of New Brunswick.
  • Willing and able to commit to developing and operating a business venture in New Brunswick.


The International Student Track, at least 51% ownership of the proposed venture and 51% of the team composition must be held by:

  • One or more international students registered at one of the following New Brunswick post-secondary institutions: University of New Brunswick, Thomas University, Université de Moncton, New Brunswick Community College, Mount Allison University, or Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick.


The Newcomer Track, at least 51% ownership of the proposed venture and 51% of the team composition must be held by:

  • One or more Permanent Resident(s) of Canada who have become Permanent Residents within the last 5 years.
  • Or, one or more Permanent Resident applicant(s) to Canada who can demonstrate their application to IRCC was submitted and received within the past 18 months via their Letter of Confirmation issued by IRCC.

The complete process and criteria details, can also be reviewed In the Breakthru handbook.

To apply click here. Applications close May 2, 2021.

For guidelines on how to prepare your submission, download our suggested guidelines here.

Participant Handbook

The Breakthru Participant Handbook outlines the essential aspects of the Breakthru start-up competition and has been designed to assist participants in preparing their submissions. The competition process has been carefully and thoughtfully developed to create the best competition possible. The Participant Handbook outlines eligibility requirements, the competition process, and the terms and conditions. All participants must fully read and understand the Breakthru Participant Handbook prior to entering the competition.

Past Breakthru Award Recipients

Canum Nanomaterials

Team members: Kyle Woods, Alex Clarkin, Francois Michaud, Jayson Brown, Felipe Chibante

Canum Nanomaterials [2019] – Grand Prize, CBC Viewer’s Choice Award

Canum Nanomaterials is a manufacturing company that produces fullerenes, which are often used in flexible organic solar cells and as an antioxidant in health supplements. However, a problem in the fullerene industry has held back the growth of these applications. Fullerenes are incredibly challenging to produce, and there still isn’t a commercially viable process to produce fullerenes at reasonable prices and quantities suitable for large-scale use. As a result, the fullerene demand has remained high and current manufacturers are struggling to find a cost-effective way to improve their production. The founding team at Canum Nanomaterials has developed a highly scalable and environmentally friendly process that can produce fullerenes at costs significantly lower than competitors. This technology shows great potential and multiple prospective customers have approached Canum with written letters of intent to purchase fullerenes immediately.

Team members: Jenelle Sobey, Vanessa Paesani, Jess Peters

R I D D L [2019] – Second Place

R I D D L provides proprietary data to impact investors to guide better investment decisions. Currently, there are no standardized value indicators for impact investments as there are for traditional financial investments, therefore these investors are investing blind. R I D D L is building the tools that manage and measure impact investment to drive real outcomes in fields like climate change mitigation, health sciences innovation and poverty reduction. R I D D L is a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) model propelled by artificial intelligence and machine learning that allows impact investors to better analyze their impact returns.