How We Work

The impact of climate change is being experienced at an accelerated rate. While it touches all of us – whether we live in urban or rural areas – the effects of rapid sea level rise on coastal communities are particularly destructive.

With increasing amounts of our global population living in coastal communities, we need innovative, long-term solutions that focus on mitigation, adaptation, and – ultimately – our shared safety and prosperity.

Here’s how we do that:

Identify the Problem

Working with stakeholders across government, the private sector, and entrepreneurs themselves, we identify some of the biggest problems affecting coastal communities across the globe, and our own community in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Source the Solution

From there, we design a Challenge (you can see past Challenges here) — an innovation-fueled pitch competition that sources ideas from the brightest and most practical entrepreneurs and companies, designing physical, scalable solutions to specific resilience problems.

Real World Testing and Deployment

So many resilience solutions are envisioned without ever being tested in the real world. By working in Hampton Roads — a collaborative coastal community — our Challenge winners can build and deploy their solutions within a local pilot community, generating real-time feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Our resilience experts are there every step of the way to support with ideation, refinement, and asking the right questions.

Build Enterprise-Readiness

Resilience solutions need to be effective, efficient, and scalable. But we’re also looking for ideas that are financially sustainable. Working with traditional acceleration platforms, we offer support to our entrepreneurs through business-model readiness, fundraising, and assistance in securing other critically needed start-up assets that will allow our Challenge winners to thrive.

Providing Catalytic Funding

The early days of piloting a solution require a financial runway, and critically needed de-risking capital. That’s why — thanks to generous funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Commonwealth of Virginia — we provide our Challenge winners with critically needed initial funding (either a grant or revenue-backed loan, based on their business model.) It keeps the lights on and puts scale firmly within reach.

Here’s how we’re different:

— We focus on solution-builders — companies — to “cross the chasm.” For us, that means offering a “one-stop shop” that allows solution-builders to move from ideation to implementation effectively and thoughtfully.

— We look for multiple options to apply a workable solution, identifying other coastal communities that share similar conditions with our pilot community.

— We select and support resilience solutions that work effectively, can scale, can replicate, and do all of this cost-effectively.

See our work in action:

MIT Solve Logo

Pursuing Shared Value Through Partnership: A RISE Case Study on MIT Solve

InfraSGA Logo

Supporting and Scaling Solution-Builders: A RISE Case Study on InfraSGA

The City of Norfolk Logo

Testing Resilience Solutions: A RISE Case Study on the Urban Mobility Challenge