PHOENIX, AZ (July 17, 2020) — The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) announced today applications are being accepted for the 2020 Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC) beginning Monday, August 3rd. The business plan competition is designed to advance innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona by helping early-stage ventures scale.
Arizona is the best state to develop and commercialize innovative ideas and products, and our entrepreneurial ecosystem is a key role in driving the economy. The Arizona Innovation Challenge has been serving this ecosystem since 2011, resulting in more than 2,000 applications and 100 awarded companies that are striving to become the industry giants of tomorrow.
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. Participants will complete a series of panels and workshops within the subsequent 12 months of the award during which they will learn how to refine their business plans, improve go-to-market execution strategies and increase investor readiness.
“Supporting entrepreneurship is more critical than ever, as today’s early-stage innovators are advancing next-gen solutions that will solve global challenges,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO. “The ACA is proud to continue our support through the Arizona Innovation Challenge and Venture Ready Accelerator programs, and we strongly encourage all interested tech startups to apply.”
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. Companies that move on to the final round will pitch live — virtually — before a panel of judges. After all judging rounds are complete, participants will also 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 on Monday, August 3rd through Friday, August 28th at 5 p.m MST. 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.
The Fall 2020 Challenge brings new and exciting opportunities to Arizona entrepreneurs, granting up to 10 awardees up to $150,000. Each awardee will be enrolled into the ACA’s premier mentor-led accelerator, Venture Ready, as well as exposure to investors, business executives and successful startup CEOs and media.
Fall 2020 Season Schedule*
- First Round Application Window – August 3 – August 28
- Application Information Virtual Workshops – July 21 – August 10
- First Round Judging – September 7 – October 1
- Semifinalists Announced – Week of Oct 5th
- Semifinalists Application Window – October 5 – October 16
- Semifinalists Judging – October 19 – November 6
- Finalists Announced – Week of November 9
- Finalists Pitches – November 17
- Portfolio Companies Announced – Week of November 23
*Note: All dates are approximate and subject to change.