The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation has announced the dozen finalists for the 2017 Breakthru competition in the build-up to revealing the winners in late March.

Breakthru is the innovation agency’s flagship competition, held every second year. It aims to bring entrepreneurs into the startup community and usher them through the early stages of starting a business.

To reach the semi-finals, the entrants had to submit a full business plan to the committee. This year, 53 companies submitted the plans and 12 of them will now move on to the next round. What’s interesting about the group of finalists is about half the teams have female founders. Also, there is a strong concentration of companies developing IT products for life sciences – one of the hottest segments in the region right now.

The semi-finalists from New Brunswick are:

EChart Healthcare, Amanda Betts --  Software to connect long-term care patients with families.

EhEye, James Stewart -- Artificial intelligence system to catch anomalies in security.

Newpy, Erin O'Halloran -- Application for digital marketing.

Pfera, Lisa Pfister -- Application to detect birth times in horses.

Quber, Jen Leger -- Fintech application allowing you to save money easily.

Shoplaw, Randy Campbell -- Online resource for public to find lawyers.

SomaDetect, Bethany Deshpande -- Cow milk quality detection software tool.

Stash Energy, Jordan Kennie -- Energy storage for use during non-peak times.

The Unity Project, Steve Skinner -- Donation at point of sale software.

Vibes Intelligent, Marcel Petitpas -- Analysis software for client satisfaction.

WEnTech, Amir Akbari -- Waste to energy software tool.

Zecken Laboratories, Kami Harris -- Lyme disease detection tool.

NBIF will award $750,000 in cash and in-kind services to the top three New Brunswick companies. And for the first time it will set aside $250,000 for a company from other parts of Canada that wants to set up base in New Brunswick.

All semi-finalists will be required to attend the competition’s second bootcamp on Saturday

NBIF Chief Executive Calvin Milbury said the competition, now in its 10th year, has attracted a record number of entrants.  Some 61 teams comprising 141 people entered the 2017 competition, and all but nine of the entries were teams rather than individuals. There were seven national entries, made up of 17 participants.

Prizes will be awarded live at the award dinner on March 23rd at the Fredericton Convention Centre.