Elizabeth River sunset in Norfolk, VA

How We Work

At RISE, our approach to developing new climate change solutions is as unique as the ideas that pour in with every Challenge. Here’s how it all works.

As climate change continues to accelerate its impact on coastal communities, RISE supports innovative, near-term solutions that help localities adapt and mitigate the hazards to protect the safety and prosperity of their citizens.

1. Identify the Problem

Working with entrepreneurs, government stakeholders and the private sector, we identify some of the biggest problems affecting the world’s coastal communities, including our own community in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

2. Source the Solution

We create a Challenge from the problems we identify, inviting ideas from today’s brightest minds to design physical, scalable solutions that can be tested in Hampton Roads and applied anywhere in the world.

3. Real World Testing and Deployment

Our Challenge winners build and deploy their solutions in our pilot community with critical support from our resilience experts, generating real-time feedback on what’s working and what needs refinement.

4. Build Enterprise-Readiness

We support solutions that are effective, efficient, scalable and financially sustainable. Working with traditional acceleration platforms, we support entrepreneurs through business-model readiness and fundraising, and help them secure critical start-up assets so they can thrive.

5. Catalytic Funding

The early days of piloting a solution required a financial runway and critically needed de-risking capital. Now, thanks to generous funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commonwealth of Virginia, we provide Challenge winners with initial grant and revenue-backed loan funding to keep the lights on and put scale firmly within reach.

Innovative Impact

The RISE program has established the only ecosystem of coastal resilience entrepreneurs, who are using coastal Virginia as a living lab to develop their next-generation products and technologies.