~ Winning businesses will receive funding and support to pilot innovative solutions addressing sea level rise and flooding in rural and urban coastal Virginia ~

For Immediate Release

Betsy Hnath
RISE Communications Director
(757) 513-7550
NORFOLK, VA – November 1, 2021: RISE, a Virginia-based, non-profit organization providing one-stop-shop resources to entrepreneurs in the coastal resilience sector, today announced the launch of two Coastal Community Resilience Challenges that will award up to $3 million in funding and support to foster innovation and growth in Virginia’s water economy. Select businesses will pilot innovative solutions addressing the unique challenges from climate change impacts faced by rural and urban regions of coastal Virginia.

Since 2018, RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenges have deployed over $5 million in financial support and services to more than 30 businesses developing new, scalable solutions in the living laboratory of Hampton Roads. Building on its success in addressing the needs of coastal cities, for the first time RISE is expanding its model to include the Middle Peninsula region and the unique challenges faced by rural communities. In partnership with the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission and Virginia Sea Grant, and with funding from a GO Virginia grant, the RISE Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge offers select businesses up to $200,000 in grants to test novel solutions tackling problems including septic system redesign and upcycling dredge materials. Selected teams will pilot and validate their projects on dedicated Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority properties.

The RISE Urban Coastal Community Resilience Challenge, supported in part by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will award winning businesses up to $300,000 in grants and loans to pilot cutting-edge solutions to pressing problems facing coastal cities, including re-establishing critical utilities after a severe weather event and tidal backflow prevention in stormwater systems. Selected teams will launch projects in Hampton Roads.

In addition to funding, winning teams will get access to resources from the RISE Resilience Innovation Hub & Testbed, a tailored business accelerator, co-working office and testing space, introductions to regional municipalities, and support from local community colleges and universities, among other benefits.

“Coastal Virginia is uniquely positioned to support and advance businesses in the growing resilience sector. Virginia’s recently established Community Flood Preparedness Fund could generate as much as $40 million a year alone for flood resilience projects, and a potential market for companies,” said RISE Executive Director, Paul Robinson Ph.D. “By offering real-world pilot sites, the Coastal Community Resilience Challenges offer an unprecedented living laboratory for winning businesses to validate their solutions and the perfect launchpad for follow-on investments.”

“We are at the cusp of a renaissance in living on the coast,” said Virginia Sea Grant Director, Troy Hartley. “Virginia’s water adaptation industries, its world-class universities and community colleges, creative government officials, and public partnerships like these are going to lead us there. I am excited to see the ideas that the entrepreneurs put forth, and how we can work together to launch a resilience and adaptation economy.”

“The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission and the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority welcome the collaborative partnership to tackle the single largest coastal challenge facing Virginia. Through this partnership, we will make Coastal Virginia the most resilient community on the East Coast by creating jobs and protecting people suffering from challenges posed by water management,” said Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission Executive Director, Lewie Lawrence.

Brinc, the global venture capital and accelerator firm that previously teamed up with RISE to help boost awareness and attract companies, will apply its outreach expertise to these Challenges as well.

The deadline to apply for the RISE Urban and Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenges is January 10, 2022. For more information on the Challenges, past winners and to sign up for informational webinars please visit www.riseresilience.org.

About RISE
RISE is a Virginia-based non-profit with a mission to accelerate innovation and business growth by identifying and scaling solutions to coastal communities’ biggest resilience challenges.

About the Middle Peninsula Planning District
Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority (MPCBPAA) created by the General Assembly in 2002, the MPCBPAA represents nine Middle Peninsula localities, including: Essex, Gloucester, King & Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex Counties, and the Towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point. Holding the title to and managing over 50 waterfront properties, the MPCBPAA makes properties available for various activities important to the economy and citizens, and manages multiple, sometimes competing, needs and uses. The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) serves as MPCBPAA fiscal agent and staff support.

About Virginia Sea Grant
Virginia Sea Grant combines the resources of Virginia’s top institutions, using them to find innovative solutions to marine and coastal challenges faced by the Commonwealth. Together we work to improve coastal ecosystems, coastal communities, and working waterfronts by financially supporting researchers, graduate fellows, extension members, and interns. Alongside these universities and a variety of other partners, we act as an “honest broker” to spread useful, unbiased, and science-based knowledge to a wide variety of audiences and constituents.