Arizona Commerce Authority Now Accepting Applications For The 2023 Arizona Innovation Challenge


PHOENIX, AZ (August 1, 2023) — The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) announced today applications are being accepted for the 13th annual Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC). The application window will run 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 130 AIC awardees from over 2,700 applications, representing a total portfolio evaluation of $2.8 billion and $1.6 billion in follow-on capital raised by awardees since winning. AIC awardees include sectors such as IT and software, bio and life sciences, cleantech and renewable energy, and advanced manufacturing. Previous awardees include notable startups such as, CampusLogic, Paradox, Ampcera, ReSuture, Air2O and more.


Up to ten companies will be selected as awardees and gain access to the ACA’s flagship entrepreneurship program 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 13th year, the Arizona Innovation Challenge continues to attract and mentor some of Arizona’s most promising startups while serving as a national model for startup program excellence,” 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 the continued growth of Arizona’s early-stage entrepreneurs. Each year, AIC awardees surpass our expectations with their unique ideas, bolstering Arizona’s innovative ecosystem and we look forward to reviewing this year’s 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 to pitch their startups in-person before a panel of investors. The judges will choose up to 10 companies as AIC awardees for 2023. 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 Tuesday, August 1, through Thursday, August 31, 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.


Learn more about the Arizona Innovation Challenge HERE.


Media Contact

Alyssa Tufts, Arizona Commerce Authority, [email protected]


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 and follow the ACA on Twitter @azcommerce.