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.


Competition Process

Breakthru starts with a call for proposals in the form of an application, a 60-second video pitch, and an executive summary. In addition to these, each team will be required to submit an $85 entrant fee. You can access the application in the next section. Be sure to review the Breakthru Participant Handbook section below which includes all of the competition's terms and conditions. 

Clicking submit DOES NOT complete the application process. Your video will be used for internal purposes only. If you prefer, you can send us a DVD. Only a completed application as per the Breakthru Participant Handbook will enter you into the competition.

Entries that meet the eligibility criteria will proceed to the Breakthru Boot Camp on December 1st, 2018.

Prize recipients are chosen and then announced at the Breakthru LIVE Awards Dinner on March 21st, 2019. Stay tuned for event details!

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 be completed at the time of application. If teams consist of more than one individual, each team member is required to sign. 

Breakthru Eligibility

Individuals and teams can enter Breakthru. To participate in the competition, submissions must demonstrate the following:

  • An innovative business that has not previously been launched, and has a solid business case
  • Strong market demand with growth potential
  • Commercial and financial feasibility
  • Potential to generate a sustained competitive advantage
  • Talented management with relevant experience

To be eligible, each participant must meet the following conditions:

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • A resident of the province of New Brunswick or be part of a team with at least one actively participating member who is a resident of New Brunswick and holds or will hold at least 51% of share ownership of the proposed business
  • Legally entitled to establish a business and work in Canada; and,
  • Committed to developing and operating a new business venture in New Brunswick.

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?
Breakthru will begin on September 12th, 2018.

2. How do I enter Breakthru?
Click on the "apply" button above, and fill out the online application. You can upload your two-page summary, signature page and pay your $85 entry fee at the end of the form. You may start and save your form at any time, and return to work on it later, however, you must complete it within 21 days of your first entry, or it will be deleted by the system! Be sure to consult our Breakthru Participant Handbook for full submission requirements.

3. Can I send a DVD of my video pitch?
No, it must be sent electronically. 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 to your invite list. Note that submitting your video does not enter you into the contest. Only a fully completed application form will.

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 Breakthru 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 portfolio 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 Breakthru 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 Breakthru 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 full-day event designed to assist participants who make it to the second round of the competition. Note that NBIF will have more than one Boot Camp for the 2019 competition.  Boot Camp will help you further develop your business case.  Greater details 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 Breakthru 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.


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