Rural Resilience
$1.5 Million Challenge

The Rural Coastal Resilience Challenge represents a rare opportunity for game-changing entrepreneurs: The chance to pilot innovative solutions to critical rural resilience challenges in the living laboratory of coastal Virginia and make a positive impact quickly.


The impact of climate change is being experienced at an accelerated rate, and coastal communities are on the frontlines. In the U.S. alone, more than 45% of the population live in areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, leaving them at risk of shoreline erosion, flooding and storms.

While all coastal communities share common environmental hazards, with thousands of miles of shoreline, rural coastal Virginia is uniquely vulnerable to storms and flooding associated with tides and extreme precipitation, which are exacerbated by climate change and sea-level rise.

Exposure to broad rivers and the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean intensify coastal erosion, risking private property and public infrastructure. Saltwater intrusion is also a threat to well water quality and to coastal farms and forests. The region’s heavy reliance on septic systems for wastewater disposal presents both economic and public health challenges.

45% of the population live in areas vulnerable to sea-level rise
In Partnership with
Challenge Topics

Click below for more information about the topics related to Flood Management, Protection of Buildings and Property, and Water Quality Management.

Flood Management
Protection of Buildings & Property
Water Quality
  • You have to be a for profit or a not for profit business.
  • Your business has to be able to deploy your solution in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia, either by yourselves or by hiring a local partner.
  • Your solution has to be prototype stage or later.
  • If you are selected as a finalist, you will be required to submit additional documentation, including technical details of your solution and a work plan.
  • Finalists will be required to register on
Resilience Innovation Fund

The Selection Committee may recommend making the award (or a portion of it) contingent upon refinement of a business plan and/or workplan. In such case, the winners may be required to participate in a 2-month Resilience Innovation Accelerator. Each winner will receive up to $10,000 for their participation.

Resilience Innovation Fund

Applicants can apply for up to $200,000 in non-equity grant funding.

Resilience Innovation Hub & Testbed

In addition to funding, the winners will also gain access to a suite of benefits including:

  • Real-world pilot sites in the rural Middle Peninsula of Virginia
  • Feedback from government pilot hosts
  • Government, technical, and business mentors
  • Regulatory assistance with permits and government funding
  • University R&D assistance and interns
  • Co-working office space in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia
  • Co-working fabrication facility in Hampton Roads of Virginia
  • PR opportunities and media visibility
  • Introductions to potential investors and customers
  • The only ecosystem of coastal resilience entrepreneurs in the U.S.
*All dates are subject to change by RISE
January 10, 2022 — 2PM EST
Application submission deadline
January 24, 2022
Finalists announced
February 7, 2022
Deadline to submit additional documentation, including technical details, a workplan, and financial projections.
March 1 – 11, 2022
Shortlisted Finalists pitches
End of March 2022
Winners announced
April 2022
Deadline for winners to sign contracts
April 2022
Launch of the Resilience Innovation Accelerator & launch of projects
June 30, 2023
Deadline for projects implementation and contract closeout
Our Solutions Builders
“Being part of RISE will give you access to interested and engaged civic partners from the start.”
“The RISE program is a great way to validate the problem, pilot your solution with real users and collect valuable feedback on your products.”
“The opportunity to work with RISE has been transformative for our business.”
“They’re very supportive of the companies they fund.”
“Working with RISE has been an amazing opportunity for us.”
Apply Now