RISE Announces Winners of $3M Rural and Urban Coastal Community Resilience Challenges

Eight businesses will each receive up to $300,000 in funding and support to pilot solutions addressing sea level rise and flooding in coastal Virginia

NORFOLK, Va., May 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- RISE today announced the winners in its Rural and Urban Coastal Community Resilience Challenges, designed to identify, validate and scale novel solutions to sea level rise and flooding. Eight winning small businesses – four for each Challenge – were selected from more than 70 submissions. Each business will receive up to $300,000 in funds and services to test their next-generation products in the living lab of coastal Virginia. Winners also receive technical, government, and business mentorship, investor matchmaking, customized accelerator curriculum and ongoing support to get to the next level.

"These winning businesses represent some of the most innovative thinking in climate adaptation," said RISE Executive Director, Paul Robinson. "By providing one-stop shop resources to expedite their success, RISE provides the cutting-edge tools our own region needs to address climate challenges now, and a launchpad to help other coastal communities faster."

The Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge marks the first time RISE has extended its successful model to find innovative solutions to problems that are often distinct from those encountered by coastal cities. In partnership with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission and Virginia Sea Grant, and with funding from GO Virginia, four winning businesses will receive up to $200,000 in grants and services to develop next-generation solutions surrounding topics such as septic system redesign and upcycling dredge materials. Rural Challenge winners will also receive project support from regional community colleges and universities and the unique opportunity to test and develop their products on dedicated public properties and buildings in the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority.

"We know small businesses have the ability to solve problems faced by our coastal communities," said Virginia Sea Grant Director, Troy Hartley. "The Rural Challenge gives entrepreneurs access to an entire innovation ecosystem — collaborative R&D with universities, funding, workforce development — all the resources they need to turn ideas into real-world solutions."

"Why are we building our communities the same way we built them 100 years ago when we know Mother Nature isn't operating the same way she did 100 years ago? It makes no sense, we need to reimagine and design our communities differently and the Challenge allows us to bring innovative solutions to longstanding problems," said Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission Executive Director, Lewie Lawrence.

The four winners of the RISE Urban Coastal Community Resilience Challenge will each receive up to $300,000 in grants and loans to address the needs of coastal cities. Businesses will pilot solutions in Hampton Roads to issues such as re-establishing critical utilities after a severe weather event and tidal backflow prevention in stormwater systems.

With support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Virginia's Department of Housing and Community Development, RISE has launched six Challenges and deployed over $5 million to more than 30 businesses. Winners of the Urban and Rural Challenges join more than 20 pilot projects currently underway.

For more information, please visit

Betsy Hnath
RISE Communications Director
(757) 513-7550
[email protected]

Cision View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE RISE Resilience Innovations