Breakthru - NBIF - FINB

Breakthru is a startup competition designed to encourage the creation and development of entrepreneurial, innovative business ventures in New Brunswick. Hosted by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), this biennial province-wide competition gives participants a unique opportunity to access start-up capital, mentoring, and support.

Entrepreneurial New Brunswickers who are interested in pursuing the development of a new and innovative business venture in the province are encouraged to enter the competition for a chance to win substantial prizes that will help launch their businesses.

Participants compete for nearly half a million in investment prizing, which consists of a combination of start-up equity capital and in-kind services. In addition, participants will receive coaching from the province’s leading professionals.


Breakthru Awards Dinner

Please join the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation at the Fredericton Convention Centre March 21st, 2019 as we celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in the province with an evening of LIVE pitches, live entertainment, and a delectable three-course meal.


Individual: $100 + tax

Table of 8:  $750 + tax


Better Than Reality
Better Than Reality Daniel Kane

Better Than Reality (BTR) is an innovative new company that fills a need for improvements to training in the nuclear, energy utility, and other high risk industries. BTR provides easy to use, high-quality software solutions to those industries and utilities, which increases business value by providing user friendly experiences that increase safety and make training more efficient, effective and experiential. Their value proposition is to develop virtual and augmented reality training environments that help companies to increase their operator training pass rates. They do this by improving the quality of operator training through the use of experiential learning environments and gamification of the training. Taking the time upfront to plan interactive, dynamic, fun and experiential training opportunities for utility operators enhances the training experience and improves the mental models developed, increasing knowledge retention. Trainees are more likely to pay attention and be motivated to learn, which results in higher pass rates and operator throughput. Having enhanced training options also reduces the time to proficiency and allows utilities to reduce the number of costly contract training staff.

Team members: Daniel Kane, Esther Sangodoyin, Harpreet Kohli

Canum Nanomaterials
Canum Nanomaterials Kyle Woods

Canum Nanomaterials is a manufacturing company that produces fullerenes, which are often used in flexible organic solar cells and as an anti-oxidant in health supplements. However, there is a problem in the fullerene industry that has held back the growth of these applications. Fullerenes are incredibly challenging to produce, and there has yet to be a commercially-viable process that can produce fullerenes at reasonable prices and quantities suitable for large-scale use. As a result, the demand for fullerenes has remained high and current manufacturers are struggling to find a cost-effective way to improve their means of production. Customers are feeling an immediate need for a solution to this worldwide problem. 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:  Kyle Woods, Alex Clarkin, Francois Michaud, Jayson Brown, Felipe Chibante

Punch Reviews
Punch Reviews Ross Culberson

In 2015 Ross Culberson, a farmer from Carleton County, wanted a better way to capture food safety compliance and maintenance records. Constantly on the go, and not in a typical office environment, he needed something simple, easy to use and mobile. He wanted to eliminate the pen and paper he, like most farmers, had been using for decades. He knew there must a better way so he searched for an alternative. His search turned up no available solutions so he decided to build something himself. That summer he collaborated with a local IT company to develop a website using Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The result was an easy to use mobile product which captured food safety compliance and maintenance records in real time; was born.

The site was created to eliminate physical records by capturing:
● Food supply chain safety records
● Farm vehicle service records
● Chain of custody records for livestock
● Security check records from storage buildings

The information, stored in the cloud using Amazon Web Services, is accessible at any time from any mobile device, tablet or PC.

R I D D L Jenelle Sobey

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.  We are 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.

Team members:  Jenelle Sobey, Vanessa Paesani, Jess Peters

Sensory Friendly Sol.
Sensory Friendly Sol. Christel Seeberger

Sensory Friendly Solutions is a for-profit social enterprise for sensory friendly seekers and sensory friendly locations, events, products and services. Sensory friendly seekers are people with autism, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, concussion, dementia, hearing loss, low vision, post-traumatic stress disorder, and vestibular disorder along with their families, educators and caregivers.

Sensory Friendly Solutions is launching a digital platform to connect people with sensory sensitivities to the spaces and products they need to carry out daily life. By creating a searchable database of locations, services, and products that address sensory friendly needs, the platform will act as a way to connect sensory friendly seekers (users) looking for them. The platform will also act as a community-builder for those who seek to connect with others who have similar daily life challenges. Through our platform, locations, products and services (customers) that address sensory friendly needs will connect, engage and sell to sensory friendly seekers across disability and geography.


Prize Sponsors



Grand Prize

Second Place 

Viewer’s Choice

NBIF, cash investment




Opportunities NB, cash investment




Deloitte, in-kind accounting services




Cox & Palmer, in-kind legal/professional services




Symplicity Designs, 1 seat for each winner in Symplicity’s “Introduction to Performance Excellence” program.




Momentum; discounted rate for Momentum’s sales mentoring program.

A rate of $45,000 for the 5-month Momentum Market Validation & Sales Package

A rate of $25,000 for the 3-month Momentum Market Validation & Sales Package

A rate of $25,000 for the 3-month Momentum Market Validation & Sales Package

Bonfire, in-kind marketing strategy& logo development services



Amy Parrill (LMI), 1 seat for each winner in the September 2019 Leadership program cohort




CBC New Brunswick,



Golden ticket to the Dragon's Den audition in Toronto

Total Prize Package Value




*Cash investments by NBIF will be made in the form of convertible debenture. Please read our participant handbook for details. Subject to due diligence.

Selection Committee

  • Jill Green - CEO, Green Imaging Technologies
    Jill Green CEO, Green Imaging Technologies
  • Beth Webster - Vice President, Populus Global Solutions
    Beth Webster Vice President, Populus Global Solutions
  • Jeff White - CEO, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation
    Jeff White CEO, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation
  • Yves Maillet - VP Business Growth, ONB
    Yves Maillet VP Business Growth, ONB
  • Brian Dunphy - Director Product Development, Cvent
    Brian Dunphy Director Product Development, Cvent

Viewers Choice Award


Our Breakthru finalists are being featured on CBC New Brunswick News at 6 pm broadcast through the week of March 11th – March 15th  leading up to the Breakthru LIVE Awards Dinner on March 21st.  Their stories will be uploaded to the CBC New Brunswick’s Facebook page on March 15th so that the public can VOTE on who they think is the most deserving of the CBC Viewers’ Choice! To vote – all you have to do is LIKE your favorite video. The video with the most LIKES will be the winner.

Voting begins Friday, March 15 at 7 pm and ends Wednesday, March 20 at noon. The winner will be announced at the Breakthru LIVE Awards Dinner.


The NBIF and Opportunities New Brunswick will be offering $75,000 to the Viewers’ Choice winner, and CBC will be offering a "front of the line" Golden Ticket to the Toronto audition of Dragons' Den on March 30.


·         Go to the Video tab on CBC New Brunswick’s Facebook page

·         Go to the NBIF Breakthru Finalist playlist

·         Vote by LIKING your favorite video

Breakthru Finalist Broadcast Schedule:

Monday- Punch Reviews
Tuesday- Better than Reality
Wednesday- RIDDL 
Thursday- Canum Nanomaterials
Friday- Sensory Friendly Solutions 


Participant Handbook

The Breakthru Participant Handbook outlines the essential aspects of the Breakthru Startup 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 Breakthru Participant Handbook prior to entering the competition.  

Corporate Partners