Encouraging the creation and development of entrepreneurial, innovative business ventures in New Brunswick (N.B.), we host this series of province-wide Breakthru Start-Up competitions 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.

The competition unites members from all areas of the community, including business, academic and government sectors, with the common goal of enhancing entrepreneurship and seeding new and innovative ventures

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

There are currently no open Breakthru competitions.

The competition replicates the process that an entrepreneur would undertake to solicit funds from outside investors. Therefore, judges will act as investors, choosing the worthiest business venture for investment from a group of finalists.

In determining the prize recipient, the judges will evaluate the entire submission and assess the overall merits of the business model, the quality of the idea, the video pitch, the virtual Q&A, and the capacity of management to execute on the proposed plan. Ultimately, the prize recipient will be the participant(s) who is best able to convey the merits of their business venture and their ability to execute on their plan to the judges.

Selected finalists will present a 3-minute pitch and respond to a question-and-answer period of 10 minutes during the final Breakthru event.

Submissions must be received by NBIF via our online portal no later than the specified date for each open competition. Paper or email submissions will not be accepted.

An application will not be complete without the signature of each team member. If each team member is not able to sign electronically, missing signatures must be collected prior to attending the Preparation Bootcamp. If NBIF has not received all signatures by the specified date for each open competition, the team’s submission will be disqualified.

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.

*Requirements are subject to change by competition, please review the current competition. handbook here. 

Individual Eligibility 

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)
• A resident of the province of New Brunswick or be part of a team of which at least one actively participating member is a resident of New Brunswick and who holds, or will hold, at least 51% of share ownership of the proposed business venture
• Entitled to establish a business and work within the province of New Brunswick; and,
• Willing and able to commit to developing and operating a business venture in New Brunswick.

*Requirements are subject to change by competition, please review the current competition. handbook here.

Proposed Business Venture Eligibility 

Proposed business ventures must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

• Must be incorporated Federally or in New Brunswick.
• Be in the early pre-seed stage of development
• Have no substantial prior operating history
• Propose to maintain a head office and an operational base in New Brunswick
• Engaged in the creation and development of entrepreneurial, innovative business ventures in the Francophone business and innovation ecosystem
• Be prepared to protect relevant intellectual property, if applicable.

*Requirements are subject to change by competition, please review the current competition. handbook here. 

The prize(s) provides successful participant(s) with the critical start-up capital and/or support that they require to launch their new business venture.

The prize(s): One $25,000 SAFE investment by NBIF, subject to the proper due diligence.

SAFE Investment

The investment component of the prize money will be provided to the successful participant by NBIF. The investment is subject to the satisfactory completion of final due diligence by the NBIF. The investment will be completed as a SAFE investment into an appropriately incorporated entity. Where required, NBIF will assist the prize recipient with the incorporation process. In exchange for its investment, NBIF and the winning company will enter into a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE). This SAFE will have no interest, a $2,500,000 valuation cap, a 24-month term and a 20% discount on the next round of financing. As an example: this SAFE investment will be similar to the SAFE investment that was popularized by the Y-Combinator.

*Additional prizes may be added by competition. For complete list of pries. Please review the open competition section and the Breakthru handbook. 

Typical uses for the net proceeds of the prize include among others:

• Company creation and incorporation
• General business development including enhancement of a company’s business model
• Financial modelling
• In-depth market research
• Technology and product development including prototype development, product testing and customer trials
• Intellectual Property protection
• Other uses as described in the pitch deck submitted and as approved by NBIF

Submissions that propose the following uses of capital for the net proceeds of the prize are ineligible:

• General debt consolidation or repayment
• Refinancing of a business operation
• Purchasing fixed assets including, but not limited to, land, buildings, and vehicles
• Undertaking construction, renovations, or leasehold improvements
• Replenishing or offsetting operating losses and past business expenditures.

Review the full list of terms and conditions for the Breakthru competition here.

• For 12-page slide pitch deck guidelines, click here.