2021 Arizona Innovation Challenge


PHOENIX, AZ (July 23, 2021) — The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) announced today applications are being accepted for the 10th annual Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC). Applications are being accepted from July 26 to August 27. The Arizona Innovation Challenge, which is the largest 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 110 AIC awardees from over 2,000 applicants. AIC awardees span industries such as clean and renewable energy, IT and software, bio and life sciences and advanced manufacturing.

Upon completion of the competition, up to ten companies will be added to the AIC portfolio and will 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.

“Now in its tenth year, the Arizona Innovation Challenge continues to enrich Arizona’s vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem while serving as a model for the rest of the country,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are proud to host this year’s competition and the Venture Ready Accelerator to support Arizona’s next generation of tech entrepreneurs. We’ve seen previous awardees go on to make a name for themself on the world stage and look forward to reviewing this year’s exciting entries.”

The AIC consists of three judging rounds, during which 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 will pitch their startups in-person before a panel of investors. The judges will choose up to 10 companies as AIC awardees for 2021. 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, July 26 through Friday, August 27 at 5 p.m MST. Applicants can submit their applications HERE.

Virtual workshops are being held free of charge to provide more information about the competition, application process, eligibility and guidelines. Interested applicants will learn how to be more competitive.

Four workshops will be held virtually via Zoom. Please register for the events here.

Media Contact

Alyssa Tufts, Arizona Commerce Authority, alyssat@azcommerce.com


About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.

Posted in AZBio News.