The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) announced today applications are being accepted for the 11th annual Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC). Applications are being accepted from August 1 to August 31. The Arizona Innovation Challenge, which is the largest state-sponsored business plan competition in the nation, advances innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona by helping early-stage ventures to scale.
Since 2011, the ACA has selected 120 AIC awardees from over 2,000 applications. AIC awardees have come from sectors such as clean and renewable energy, IT and software, bio and life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Previous awardees include Botco.ai, Neolight, Paradox, CampusLogic, Bluetail, Navi Nurses, TapRoot Interventions & Solutions and more
Upon completion of the competition, up to ten companies will be added to the AIC portfolio and participate in the ACA’s Venture Ready Accelerator, which connects companies with serial entrepreneurs, high-level executives and subject matter experts. The awardees will complete a series of panels and workshops within nine months of receiving the award where they will learn how to refine their business plans, improve go-to-market execution strategies, and increase investor readiness.
“We are proud the Arizona Innovation Challenge continues to attract and mentor some of Arizona’s most promising startups while serving as a model for the rest of the country,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are excited to host this year’s competition and the Venture Ready Accelerator to support Arizona’s next generation of tech entrepreneurs. Each year, AIC awardees continue to set new standards for innovation excellence and we look forward to reviewing this year’s exciting entries.”
The AIC consists of three judging rounds where companies receive constructive feedback on their applications generated from the rigorous online evaluation and scoring process. Judges will then select up to 25 semifinalists from the applicant pool and afterward select 15 finalists that will pitch their startups in-person before a panel of investors. The judges will choose up to 10 companies as AIC awardees for 2022. After all judging rounds are complete, participants will have an opportunity to receive a consultation with the ACA to discuss their application and other potential resources available to help improve their business plans.
Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, August 1, through Wednesday, August 31, at 5 p.m MST. Applicants can submit applications HERE.
An application support webinar will be available to view through August 31. The webinar will provide guidance and tips for a successful application. View the webinar HERE.
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