The impact of climate change is being experienced at an accelerated rate. In the U.S., almost 40% of the population lives in high-population-density coastal areas vulnerable to sea level rise, leaving these communities at higher risk of flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms.

To address the growing demand for innovative solutions, RISE has designed a 12-month challenge program covering Hampton Roads, in coastal Virginia that is designed to support founders of startups and small- to medium-sized businesses solving the many problems that face coastal cities as a result of climate change. With 1.7 million residents, 10 diverse cities and 9 counties experiencing the highest rates of sea level rise along the East Coast, Hampton Roads presents a rare opportunity: An unbeatable living laboratory for the best climate resilience and adaptation technologies, along with the chance to make a positive impact quickly.

Selected teams will get to work closely with business, government, and tech leaders in Hampton Roads on pilots to validate and potentially commercialize their solutions across the region. Join our program to develop the next generation solutions that solve climate change’s many challenges.

Challenge Topics

Click on the blue icons to read about our Challenge topics around Flood Management Infrastructure, Protection of Buildings, Data Analytics and Re-establishing Critical Utilities.

Eligibility, Awards & Timelines

For detailed information about the Urban Coastal Community Resilience Challenge, please read the Applicant Guidelines. Still have questions? Check out FAQs or join our webinars.


  • You have to meet the definition of a small business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration and found here, or be a non-profit entity.
  • Your business has to be able to deploy your solution in Hampton Roads, in southeastern 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, a work plan, and financial projections.



Resilience Innovation Fund

Applicants can apply for up to $300,000 in non-equity funding. RIF awards come in two forms: 1) Grants and 2) Revenue Based Loans.

Resilience Innovation Accelerator

The RISE 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 a $10,000 stipend for their participation.

Resilience Innovation Hub & Testbed

The winners will also gain access to a suite of Resilience Innovation Hub benefits including:

  • Assistance with securing real-world pilot sites in Hampton Roads of Virginia
  • Co-working fabrication and workshop space
  • Co-working office space at Assembly in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Datasets
  • Government, technical, and business mentors
  • Feedback from government pilot hosts
  • Regulatory assistance with government funding
  • Introductions to potential investors and customers
  • PR opportunities and media visibility
  • The only ecosystem of coastal resilience entrepreneurs in the U.S.


January 10, 2022
2:00 pm 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

*All dates are subject to change by RISE

Our Solution Builders

Headshot of Suzi Housley for StormSensor

“We would encourage startups and new technologies in the civic space to apply to RISE Challenges. Being part of RISE will give you access to interested and engaged civic partners from the start. RISE funding allows you to envision what an ideal deployment would look like, and it will give you the opportunity to put it into practice and test out that concept.”

Testimonial with headshot of Leonard Nelson

“The opportunity to work with RISE has been transformative for our business. RISE has a deep understanding of resilience problems faced by coastal communities, and in particular stakeholders in the Hampton Roads area. They provide additional perspective and networking opportunities (including with other RISE award winners) that we might miss as a commercial business focused on our existing customers and technology.”

Headshot of Juliette Murphy of FloodMapp

“Working with RISE has given us the opportunity to work with organizations and communities suffering directly from the problems we are solving. The RISE program is a great way to validate the problem, pilot your solution with real users and customers, and collect valuable feedback on your products as you commercialize them.”

April headshot from Re:Public with testimonial

“We would recommend RISE to any companies considering applying to future Challenges, they’re very supportive of the companies that they fund. The introductions RISE helped us make in Hampton Roads led to a pilot project in the region.”

Testimonial from StormSensor from Steven Cal

“Working with RISE has been an amazing opportunity for us. It is tough to be a startup selling to the public sector, which tends to be slower-moving, risk-averse, and needs to see an abundance of evidence and case studies to act. RISE has been more than helpful in aiding us through the process and connecting us to local leaders in the Hampton Roads region.”

Flood Management & Infrastructure

What We’ve Heard


Coastal communities seek innovative solutions for management of ground-storm-and/or tidal water, either as affordable short-term mitigations, or low-maintenance, longer-term options in a variety of environments with high water tables.

Below is a summary of needs identified by stakeholders in Hampton Roads and other coastal communities. Submissions do not need to be limited to these areas. However, to be eligible for funding from RISE, entrants must focus on a Hampton Roads need, while demonstrating the scalability to other communities. For more details about these and other pain points, please read the 2021 Applicant Guidelines.

  • Tidal backflow prevention.
  • Stormwater litter and debris control for outfalls, ponds and pipes.
  • Rainbomb flooding reduction.
  • Run-off reduction from existing parking lots and other large paved areas in high water-table areas.
  • Replacement of existing residential bulkheads with living shoreline.
  • Improved stormwater management in dense urban environments with low operations and maintenance costs.
  • Active watershed management and control for existing infrastructure optimization.
  • Application of augmented/virtual reality for resilience infrastructure installation, operations and/or maintenance.
  • “Rainbomb” detection, warning and applications.
  • Sand replenishment.
  • Shoreline protection.

Urban Mobility


Submissions are closed

The RISE Urban Mobility Resilience Challenge seeks solutions to bring automated real-time flooding information to mobile apps and route guidance platforms. Guidance must be available to private drivers, commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, and public transportation.

RISE will provide funding to small business-led teams to demonstrate real-time flooding guidance apps in Hampton Roads. Solutions proven successful in this region must also apply to other coastal cities and communities. Hampton Roads has proven to be well-suited as a demonstration testbed.

Description of the Problem

During flooding events, communities often experience significant disruptions to transportation. These disruptions affect private, commercial, and emergency vehicles as well as public transportation, detracting from local business’ viability and the quality of life of residents. Also, many coastal communities are home to significant private/public installations which are economic drivers in the communities. These organizations rely on the transportation infrastructure of the host cities to function, and disruptions to their functionality cause hardship to them and to the community. A large part of the difficulty in managing this issue is the lack of awareness of the location and severity of the flooding, and how to navigate around the hazards.

The advent of mapping and routing platforms for smartphones (e.g., Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, etc.), could provide drivers guidance around such hazards in real-time. However, automatically conveying temporally and spatially changing flood hazards to such applications for their route guidance systems in real-time is complex and has not yet been demonstrated.

RISE thanks its current and past Challenge partners for their technical expertise and guidance.