Arizona Innovation Challenge – Fall 2018

There are THREE upcoming workshops next week where ACA will talk about the competition updates first, for all interested stakeholders (about 20 minutes), and then for the remainder of the session, for applicant companies, will be our traditional interactive track on more details about the application/contest process and how to submit a more competitive application.  See details and register for these workshops online, here.  The main workshop info is as follows:  Monday, 8/27 – Phoenix (at ACA) – 3 to 5 PM; Wednesday, 8/29 – Phoenix (at ACA) – 8 to 10 AM;  and Friday, 8/31 – Tucson (at Connect Coworking) – 8 to 10 AM.  All the workshops are FREE.


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: recruit, grow, create – recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries. The ACA is overseen by a public-private sector board composed of Arizona leaders in business and policy. The board is overseen by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and co-chaired by Brian Mueller, President and CEO of Grand Canyon University. Joining them on the board is a group of prestigious private-sector business leaders, elected officials and university presidents. The ACA’s executive management team drives the organization’s day-to-day operations, ensuring it maintains focus on the recruitment of quality companies and jobs to the state of Arizona. This team brings together the best and brightest in economic development, management and communications.

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 nearly 2,000 applications and 70 awarded companies that are striving to become the industry giants of tomorrow.

If you’re interested in competing in the Arizona Innovation Challenge, here’s what you need to know:  

  • The Challenge is offered twice yearly: spring & fall.
  • Up to 10 companies are awarded up to $150,000 each, representing non-dilutive capital.
  • Each awardee will be enrolled the ACA’s premier business mentorship program, Venture Ready.
  • The Challenge has a total of four stages: first round, semifinalist round, finalist round and fulfillment and commercialization.
    • Judges will select up to 25 companies for the semifinalist round.
    • Finalist companies will provide live pitches.
  • Each awardee will enter the fulfillment and commercialization stage of the Challenge to scale their product or service over a 12-month performance period. Companies should expect the following from Venture Ready:
    • Being matched with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). This expert business coach will provide valuable insight and support over the 12-month performance period.
    • Passing five panels focused on various business goals. Each awardee will receive grant funds as each panel is successfully completed.
    • Graduating from Venture Ready is required to receive the remaining grant funds.
  • Awardees will receive media support and promotion, and exposure to investors, business executives and successful startup CEOs.

Learn more at

Posted in AZBio News.