The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) has named six innovative early-stage companies as winners in the Fall 2015 round of the Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC), its bi-annual business plan competition.

“The Arizona Commerce Authority is proud to provide ongoing support to our state’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO. “Advancing innovative technologies is key to Arizona’s competitiveness and success in the global economy. Congratulations to all of the Fall 2015 winners, we look forward to your continued success.”

The six Fall 2015 Arizona Innovation Challenge Finalists are as follows:

• Beacon Biomedical, Scottsdale, AZ (Bio & Life Sciences): rapid diagnostic technology for colorectal cancer.

• BeckonCall, Scottsdale, AZ (IT – Software): Saas-based platform for managing the communications chain for on-call doctors.

• ClearVoice, Phoenix, AZ (IT – Software): SaaS-based content marketing platform for managing the solicitation, editing, and project management tasks for developing web content.

• Paraffin International, Phoenix, AZ (Bio & Life Sciences): maker of the gLoveTreat product, an application method for paraffin-based therapies for treating several ailments including dry skin and arthritis.

• Smart Clinic, Paradise Valley, AZ (IT – Software): SaaS-based platform that helps doctors manage the numerous pre- and post-treatment tasks necessary for healthy recovery.

• The Medical Memory, Phoenix, AZ (IT – Software): SaaS-based platform for shooting and managing videos of patients’ consultations with doctors.

The ACA provides $3 million in grants annually – $1.5 million in the spring and $1.5 million in the fall – to the most qualified, innovative startups and early-stage companies. Up to $250,000 is granted to each recipient to commercialize their technologies and grow their businesses. Grant money is provided only as each company reaches specific business milestones during a 12-month period.

A panel of expert judges evaluated 131 applications for the Fall 2015 AIC submitted by companies based in Arizona, California, Ohio, Utah and Virginia. The judges assessed each application on a set of criteria including technology potential, marketing strategy, quality of management team and economic impact. In December 2015, a total of 10 finalists were named in this round.

Every applying company that meets the AIC’s eligibility requirements receives constructive feedback generated from the rigorous online evaluation and scoring process. All 25 semifinalists in each round of the challenge are considered for participation in Venture Ready, the ACA’s mentor program that connects early stage companies with high-level CEOs to further refine business plans and investor pitches.