For Immediate Release

Paul Robinson
RISE Executive Director
(757) 258-0500

NORFOLK, Virginia – December 11, 2020: RISE today announced the launch of the 2021 Coastal Community Resilience Challenge. The Challenge will award a total of $1.5 million to small businesses with innovative flood-resilience solutions.

Businesses can apply for up to $350,000 to advance and pilot cutting-edge products and services in the areas of Flood Management & Infrastructure, Data Analytics, Protection of Buildings and Re-establishing Critical Utilities. In addition to funding, winning teams will get access to resources from the RISE Resilience Innovation Hub & Testbed including a business accelerator, co-working office and testing space, real-world pilot sites, and introductions to regional municipalities and other stakeholders, among other benefits.

RISE will work with winning teams to pilot their approaches in a “living laboratory” environment across the Hampton Roads region in coastal Virginia, with the goal of building economically viable businesses and solutions that are scalable to other communities.

“Our past Challenges were so well received, and the responses so inspiring, we saw the need to repeat the process, and to focus the Challenge on more specific problems,” said RISE’s Executive Director, Paul Robinson, Ph.D. “We’re building a resilience hub of innovators in Hampton Roads and look forward to adding more companies. We are establishing Hampton Roads as ground zero for resilience entrepreneurship.”

New to this year’s Challenge, RISE is incentivizing new applicants to partner with 15 current finalists and winners of its three previous Challenges. The organization sees this as a way to build on the expertise and innovative solutions already under development and enable even greater advancements for coastal communities worldwide.

“Gov. Northam’s recent announcement about new actions to improve coastal resilience in Virginia illustrates the continued need for solutions that help communities adapt to flooding,” said RISE Chief Strategy Officer, Katerina Oskarsson, Ph.D. “Since 2018, RISE has been a one-stop-shop for 27 resilience entrepreneurs and small businesses piloting their novel products. To date we’ve provided more than $4 million in funding and support, and we’re excited to expand our community of innovators with this new Challenge.”

Some of the innovations currently underway include solutions that reroute drivers in real-time to avoid flooded roads as well as mobile manufacturing units that produce custom shoreline protection structures to mitigate flooding faster, safer, and more affordably. The new Challenge incorporates pain points identified by coastal community stakeholders including Virginia municipalities.

The Challenge application deadline is March 15, 2021. For more information on the 2021 Challenge, past winners and to sign up for Challenge webinars please visit

About RISE
RISE accelerates innovation and business growth around solutions to coastal resilience challenges in the living laboratory of Hampton Roads, Virginia.