Rural Coastal Community Resilience
$1.5 Million Challenge
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Be a Solution Builder for Rural Coastal Communities

The Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge represents a rare opportunity for game-changing entrepreneurs: The chance to pilot innovative solutions 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 lives 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 lives in areas vulnerable to sea level rise
In Partnership with
Challenge Topics

Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge topics focus on Flood Management, Protection of Buildings and Property, and Water Quality Management. Click on the icons below to learn more.

Flood Management
  • Living Shoreline Vegetation Production
  • Rural Drainage Improvement
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Protection of Buildings & Property
  • Use and Application of Dredge Materials
  • Integrated Coastal Property Design
  • Existing Building Rehabilitation
  • Property Accessibility
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Water Quality Management
  • Septic System Design
  • Buildings' Water System Redesign
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Eligibility, Awards & Timelines

For detailed information about the Rural Coastal Community Resilience Challenge, please read the Applicant Guidelines. Still have questions? Check out FAQs or join our webinars.
  • You have to be a business entity.
  • 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 at the 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 with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC).
Resilience Innovation Fund

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

Resilience Innovation Accelerator

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

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 22, 2022
Deadline to submit additional documentation, including technical details, a work plan, and financial projections.
March 21 – 31, 2022
Shortlisted Finalists pitches
April, 2022
Winners announced
June, 2022
Deadline for winners to sign contracts
June, 2022
Launch of the Resilience Innovation Accelerator & launch of projects
December, 2023
Deadline for project implementation and contract closeout
Our Solutions Builders
“Being part of RISE will give you access to interested and engaged civic partners from the start.”
- Suzie Housley, StormSensor
“The RISE program is a great way to validate the problem, pilot your solution with real users and collect valuable feedback on your products.”
- Juliette Murphy, FloodMapp
“The opportunity to work with RISE has been transformative for our business.”
- Leonard Nelson, Natrx
“They’re very supportive of the companies they fund.”
- April Salas, Re:Public
“Working with RISE has been an amazing opportunity for us.”
- Steven Cai, StormSensor
RISE thanks its current and past Challenge partners for their technical expertise and guidance.