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.


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

  • The Challenge is offered every fall.
  • Up to 10 companies are awarded up to $150,000 each, representing non-dilutive capital.
  • Each awardee will be enrolled the ACA's mentor-led accelerator, 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.

Each company should carefully read the following before applying: