Planet Hatch and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation have opened applications for the Breakthru-Newcomer competition for startups founded by recent immigrants and international students.

The competition will comprise two streams – newcomer entrepreneurs and international students. The winner of each stream will receive $25,000 and access to the Planet Hatch newcomer or international student accelerator.

Breakthru used to be NBIF’s flagship competition, held every second year and offering three companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. In the past year or so, the provincial innovation and venture capital agency has altered the format, so there are several Breakthru events throughout the year with more companies receiving smaller awards.

“Newcomers and international students are valued members of the NB entrepreneurial community,” said Planet Hatch Director Adam Peabody in a statement. “This initiative is designed to support their innovative ideas, break down barriers, and drive economic impact through the startups they are launching.”

You can find applications here. The deadline is May 2.

More than 2,500 international students attend a New Brunswick university or college each year, and there are efforts throughout the academic and business communities to enable them to stay in the province. However, they face such barriers as limited Canadian visa options, lack of awareness, limited access to startup capital, and lack of dedicated business development support, said the statement.

“New Brunswick’s universities recognize the unique challenges international students face when they choose to study in Canada,” said Sarah King, Director Experiential Education at the University of New Brunswick. “UNB is thrilled to sponsor this Breakthru event and help some of our international students on the path to finding meaningful lives in Canada,”

The startup that wins the International Student stream will see as many as five of its co-founders and their immediate families set on a pathway to permanent residency.

Additionally, participants in the international student stream who are registered at UNB have the chance to win one of 10 UNB Entrepreneurship Internship Awards, where they will be paid to work fulltime this summer.

Said NBIF Chief Executive Jeff White: “Stimulating startup activity in the entrepreneurial community in collaboration with other partners in our eco-system is a key principle for NBIF. We see the potential in targeting our startup competition, Breakthru, to work directly with newcomers and the international student population; it allows us to find the next big innovations that will grow our population and our economy.”