The Frequently Asked Questions for the Challenge Finalists can be accessed HERE.

What are the main goals of the RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenge (Challenge) and RISE Resilience Innovation Fund (RIF)?

The goals of the Challenge and RIF include:

  • Surfacing resilience challenges faced by organizations operating in coastal environments;
  • Brokering access to the Hampton Roads region’s living laboratory to innovators with products, technologies or services to test, validate, demonstrate and scale;
  • Accelerating the growth of businesses offering innovative solutions to coastal resilience challenges; and
  • Providing access to funding and other support to help companies develop resilience technologies, products and services.

Through the implementation of these strategies, RISE hope to position the Hampton Roads region as a leader in addressing the impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise and recurrent flooding. By supporting the development of the resilience and coastal adaptation fields, RISE also seeks to spur new economic growth in the Hampton Roads region.

This Challenge seeks innovative products services, and workforce development programs from anywhere in the world that address any of five resilience topics described on the RISE website, can be demonstrated in the Hampton Roads region of Southeastern Virginia, can be built into a viable business opportunity, and are scalable to other communities.

What does the “viable business opportunity” mean?

An opportunity to establish and/or grow business around a technology, product and/or service in response to one of the resilience topic areas described on the RISE website.

Where does the funding come from for RISE Challenge and RISE Resilience Innovation Fund?

RISE is funded with a Community Development Block Grant from HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition. All programs that RISE implements must meet HUD Community Development Block Grant – National Disaster Resilience (CDBG-NDR) funding regulations. Projects funded through the RIF  must meet CDBG-NDR requirements.

Are there eligibility requirements to apply for the RISE Challenge and RIF?

To be eligible for CDBG-NDR funding from the RISE RIF, you must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

  • Ability to meet the objectives of the Challenge
  • Be a for profit small business (as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration) or a non-profit entity that has a DUNS number, is registered on, and has a committed, full-time solution lead(s);
  • Be eligible to receive funds from the United States federal government;
  • Demonstrate the solutions in the Hampton Roads region of Southeastern Virginia, U.S.;
  • Adhere to applicable administrative requirements, as outlined in 2 CFR 200 (U.S. Code of Federal Regulations);
  • Satisfy a due diligence and underwriting review process.

What is considered the Hampton Roads Region?

As funds were awarded based on regional impact, RISE can only select projects that provide a demonstrable economic benefit to the Hampton Roads Region. Specific regions include: 

  • Gloucester County;
  • Isle of Wight County;
  • James City County;
  • Matthews County;
  • York County;
  • The City of Norfolk;
  • The City of Chesapeake;
  • The City of Newport News;
  • The City of Hampton;
  • The City of Portsmouth;
  • The City of Suffolk;
  • The City of Poquoson; and
  • The City of Williamsburg

How are the RISE Challenge and the RISE Resilience Innovation Fund related?

The RISE RIF and the Challenge work together to provide CDBG-NDR funding for solutions submitted to the Challenge. RISE Challenge finalists will be invited to apply to the RISE RIF.

RIF grants and loans are organized in a two-stage process. The Challenge is a pre-requisite to receive an invitation to RIF.

  1. Stage One

Eligible teams apply to Challenge. Submissions outline details on the team, problem and solution, market potential, business model, and job creation. Challenge evaluation committee selects finalists to be invited to Stage Two. No funding is awarded at the conclusion of the Challenge.

  1. Stage Two

Challenge finalists are invited to further develop their applications and pitch to RIF. Submissions constitute a detailed plan for the use of funds requested from RIF, a clear description of how these funds advance the business opportunity described in Stage One, a detailed scope of work, budget, and milestones, and additional due diligence and underwriting information to demonstrate administrative, implementation, and business/financial capacity.

Do businesses/non-profits have to have a DUNS number and be registered on before they submit applications to the Challenge by September 30, 2018?

No. Only the Challenge finalists announced on October 31, 2018 will have to provide their DUNS number and registration. The finalists will be asked to upload this information as part of their RIF application due by January 15, 2018.

Can we apply as team without being registered as a company before the Challenge submission September 30th deadline? 

You do not have to be a company to submit your application to the Challenge. But if you are selected as the finalist on October 31, 2018, you will have to form an entity, obtain a DUNS number and register on You will be required to submit this information as part of your RIF application due on January 15, 2019.

Is the Challenge open to foreign companies?

Yes. As long as a foreign company is able to obtain a DUNS number, register on, and meet other eligible requirements posted on the RISE website.

What does RISE mean by “demonstration in Hampton Roads”?

Products, technologies and services submitted to the Challenge and awarded funding from the Fund have to be demonstrated in the Hampton Roads region. While companies do not have to relocate to the Hampton Roads area, the work funded by RISE must be done in this region.

What is RISE’s definition of small businesses?

RISE may only provide CDBG-NDR funds to for-profit businesses that are small businesses, as defined by the SBA under 13 CFR part 121.

Businesses are defined as small based on the SBA’s size standards, which have been established for types of economic activity or industry, generally under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Size standards are based either on number of employees or annual receipts, which determine the maximum allowed for a business to be considered small. A full table of small business size standards by NAICS industry can be found under 13 CFR Section 121.201.

 What costs will be funded by the RIF?

Once eligibility to participate is established, the following costs are considered eligible for funding:

Non-construction costs

  • The cost of fixed assets, working capital, or both, including cash flow, reasonable time spent applying for or securing additional assistance, and any necessary outreach to complete the work;
  • Prototype, planning, drafts, versions, and proof-of-concept development created prior to a final product;
  • Job training;
  • The purchase of real estate, land, or building, options for such purchases, and the renewal or extension of such options if integral to the proposed project, program, or plan;
  • Payments for salaries and support of staff or the contracting of an outside entity to implement any part of the project, program, or plan;
  • Provisions of technical assistance to businesses, such as preparation of financial packages, survey, engineering, legal, architectural or other similar assistance and payment of relocation or initial location expenses if integral to the proposed project, program, or plan;
  • Expenses related to business recruitment, promotional activities, and related administrative expenses, including, but not limited to, salaries, travel, office expenses, advertising, legal, and related costs;
  • Commercial and industrial firm recruitment and promotional activities;
  • Acquisition of machinery, equipment, property, or services if integral to the proposed project, program, or plan; and
  • Administrative costs related to servicing or ensuring compliance with RIF requirements.

RISE reserves the right to consider items not included in the eligible cost list eligible at their discretion, provided those costs are consistent with the RISE mission and support economic development in the region. All costs are subject to the approval of eligibility and cost reasonableness, as determined by RISE. Where applicable, the requirements set forth at 2 CFR Part 200 will apply to the procurement, selection, and contract requirements of any participating consultant, vendor, or contractor that engages with the applicant in the course of expended grant and/or loan funds.

Construction costs

Construction, renovation, remodeling, and site preparation of real estate or buildings, either leased or owned, if integral to the proposed solution are eligible for use of RIF funds. Construction costs are subject specific federal requirements, including to Davis-Bacon and Related Act requirements. All federal requirements as set forth by HUD or otherwise required of CDBG-NDR funded construction are included in the RIF loan or grant agreement.

Will construction projects have to meet labor standards?

Yes, all construction related activities will be required to adhere to Davis Bacon and Related Acts in accordance with HUD and the Department of Labor. RISE will provide further technical assistance on this matter.

When does the RISE RIF anticipate making award grants or loans?

The RISE Resilience Innovation Fund anticipates awarding winning proposals by in April of 2019.

Is there a timeline for the CBDG-NDR funds associated with the RISE Fund?

Yes, all loans and grants provided under the RISE RIF must be expended and closed out by February 2022. Therefore, as applicants to the Challenge consider their solutions, they must consider the strict timeline for these funds.

If I am a big company, am I eligible to participate?

The RISE Innovation Fund can only provide money to small businesses and non-profits. However, large companies, with great solutions, are welcome to join us to gain access to the data sets, and to the Hampton Roads area for use in demonstrating their concepts. RISE just cannot fund these efforts.

May a small business include a large business on its team?

Yes. The small business must do the majority of the work and have a compelling reason for including the large business on the team.

What is the deadline for finishing projects?

Funding must be expended by September of 2022. RISE anticipates that typical projects will be demonstrated over a one to two-year period in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Depending on the scope of the project, some run for longer or shorter periods of time.

 Are financial products and solutions eligible for the Challenge?

Yes. Any solution which addresses the 5 topic areas of the Challenge is eligible for consideration. Solutions may incorporate products, services, or workforce development elements.

 What is meant by a viable business?

RISE is looking to fund projects which have the capability to become self-sustaining, with a business model that does not require grant monies once it is fully operating. We are looking for businesses that would be attractive to investment and have the possibility of being deployed throughout the country, if not throughout the world.

 Is help available for developing my entry?

RISE has the capability of providing consulting support from Old Dominion University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This coaching can be of assistance in clarifying what you are proposing and creating a sustainable business model.

Is research eligible for RISE funding?

No. This challenge is designed for demonstrating solutions which may then be commercially deployed.

What sort of teams are you looking for?

The issues addressed in the RISE Challenge are complex. We will be looking for entries that demonstrate the multiple disciplines needed to make your solution work. This should include both the technical and the business side.

 Is this a onetime challenge?

This is the first of what we hope are many challenges to come. We will launch our next challenge in April 2019, with entries due by October 2018. Individuals and companies who apply to this year’s challenge may apply to next year’s challenge.

Do you provide assistance in getting regional data?

The RISE website has links to multiple regional data sets containing information that may be of use to the sample solution projects identified on the site. If you require additional information, please contact us via email and we will see if it is available, attempt to obtain the data, and post it on the site. The more detail you can provide on what you are looking for, the better we will be able to meet your request. Please note that we will be asking the cities for this data. If they do not already have it, we are not able to ask them to create it.

During your info sessions you spoke about a due diligence process. What is this?

RISE’s goal is to underwrite projects that have real potential for becoming investable businesses. We do this to help ensure that the “goodness” achieved during the project is capable of being carried forward and provide value into the future in Hampton Roads and to the world.

 Will this competition position me for investment?

We modeled part of our selection criteria on those used by angel, venture and other capital investment groups.

 Why do we need RISE? There are already solutions out there?

We recognize that the world has been trying to solve these challenges for a long time, and that there are existing solutions. Unfortunately, many of these solutions are expensive, or hard to maintain. Simply put, we are looking for better solutions that are cheaper and easier to sustain into the future.

Can my submission cover more than one topic?
Yes. If the work/ideas/projects being proposed are completely independent, applicants should make separate submissions. If they are linked, it is up to applicants whether they propose them separately or not.

Do I have to proposed solutions to the Proposed Projects?  What if I have a different idea?
Submissions do not need to be limited to the suggested project topic areas outlined in the “Supporting Information Document”. However, entrants must focus on a Hampton Roads need, while demonstrating the ability to scale to globally.

Submit any of your questions that you have by clicking here.