The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation has named the finalists for its 2018-2019 Breakthru entrepreneurship competition.

The provincial innovation agency said Tuesday the five teams will compete for the Grand Prize, Second Place and the CBC Viewers’ Choice awards, with prizes ranging from cash investments by the NBIF and Opportunities New Brunswick to professional services from contributing sponsors. The Viewers’ Choice Award is chosen by the audience of CBC News in New Brunswick, and the winner will receive an audition on Dragons’ Den.

The five finalists are:

  • Better Than Reality (Daniel Kane, Esther Sangodoyin, and Harpreet Kohli) – Virtual reality training platform for nuclear facilities and utility operators.
  • Canum Nanomaterials Inc. (Kyle Woods, Alex Clarkin, Francois Michaud, Jayson Brown, and Felipe Chibante) – Nanomaterial manufacturing technology that produces fullerenes, which are often used in flexible organic solar cells and as an anti-oxidant in health supplements.
  • Punch Reviews (Ross Culberson) – Web application that helps farmers capture food safety compliance and maintenance records more efficiently.
  • R I D D L (Jenelle Sobey, Vanessa Paesani, and Jess Peters) – Cloud-based software that provides investment groups with the information and data needed to make the right investment decisions.
  • Sensory Friendly Solutions (Christel Seeberger) – Mobile app that allows people with sensory sensitivities to find, share and rate sensory-friendly spaces.

In a statement, the NBIF team said it received 36 business plan submissions by the initial deadline in November. After two entrepreneurship bootcamps that offered teams mentoring and support, the submissions were whittled down to 10 in February and further to the current crop of five finalists earlier this month.

 “The teams that have made it this far in the competition have been successful in proving that they are solving real problems and demonstrating customer traction for their ideas through letters of intent,” said Daniel Hoyles, an investment analyst at NBIF.

Each team will have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges on March 14, and winners will be announced a week later at the awards dinner at the Fredericton Convention Centre. Tickets for the dinner on March 21 are available here.

Hoyles said that people attending the dinner “can look forward to five promising ideas that have the opportunity to make a real impact on their industries and on our lives.”


Disclosure: NBIF is a client of Entrevestor.