Riverine town in Western Virginia

2024 Riverine Community Resilience Challenge

$1 million for disaster protection innovators in Southwest Virginia

Rising storm frequency and intensity are putting communities nestled near rivers and streams at an increased risk of unique flood threats that can change lives in an instant. We’re seeking innovative solutions that support comprehensive pre- and post-disaster protection against these swift flood threats across the Southwest region of Virginia.
The Challenge

Be the solution for vulnerable flood-prone riverine communities

On August 30, 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped 7 inches of rain in the small Southwest Virginia community of Hurley. The consequences were severe, including a flood that destroyed 19 homes, severely damaged 24 more, and tragically took one life. Less than a year later, similar circumstances struck Virginia’s Whitewood and Pilgrims Knob communities. Twenty-one homes were destroyed and 25 damaged, but fortunately, no lives were lost. Yet in both cases, FEMA did not provide individual homeowner assistance, and few affected residents received insurance payouts.

With its rich biodiversity and socio-economic fabric, Southwest Virginia offers a unique testbed for developing, testing, and refining innovative solutions that enhance environmental adaptability. Innovators have a rare opportunity to validate their technologies in real-world conditions, ensuring their solutions are both effective and scalable across different ecosystems and cultures. This living laboratory allows you to turn today's threats into tomorrow's sustainable opportunities, fostering a replicable model of adaptation.

Bridge over a river outside of a city in Western Virginia

From 2000-2018 water-related disasters led to 326,000+ fatalities & economic losses over $1.7 trillion.

Challenge Topics

The RISE Riverine Community Resilience Challenge aims to source innovative solutions across the entire Southwest region of Virginia, including areas within LENOWISCO PDC, Cumberland Plateau PDC, Mount Rogers PDC, and the New River Valley Regional Commission. See our Challenge Topic Areas to learn more, and our Applicant Guidelines for more detailed information.

Topic Areas

Flood Event Early Warning and Avoidance
Landscape and Building Adaptation
Community Insurance Program

Join Our Weekly Challenge Webinars

Join our weekly webinars to learn more about the application process, hear from industry experts, and ask questions during a live Q&A.

April 4 | 1pm

Overview of the Challenge, topic areas, and insights on how to apply.

Paul Robinson, Executive Director, RISE

Join us for an overview of the Riverine Challenge, topic areas and insights on the application process.

Watch Now →
April 11 | 1pm

Beyond the Banks: Emergency Management Flood Response Strategies in Rural Riverine Communities

Jessica Swinney, GISP, Emergency Management Coordinator, Wise County

Thinking about applying for the RISE Riverine Community Resilience Challenge? Start here with this informational video in which RISE Executive Director Paul Robinson and Wise County GISP Jessica Swinney discuss challenges facing SW Virginia.

Watch Now →
April 18 | 1pm

Riverine Community Resilience Challenge Webinar Three

Scotty Wampler, Executive Director, Cumberland Plateau PDC & Kevin Kochersberger, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Thinking about applying for the RISE Riverine Community Resilience Challenge? Start here with this informational video in which RISE Executive Director Paul Robinson, along with guests Scotty Wampler, Executive Director of the Cumberland Plateau PDC and Prof. Kevin Kochersberger of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech,discuss challenges facing SW Virginia.

Watch Now →
April 25 | 1pm

Riverine Community Resilience Challenge Webinar Four

Francis Bouchard, Managing Director, Climate, Marsh McLennan & Paul Robinson, Executive Director, RISE

A discussion of the current and future possibilities of insurance protection in rural riverine communities

Watch Now →
2024 Riverine Community Resilience Challenge


  • You have to be a business entity.
  • Your business has to be able to deploy your solution in Southwest 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 $300,000 in non-equity funding. Teams of businesses can submit integrated solutions and may receive up to $750,000.
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 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 Southwest Virginia
  • Feedback from government pilot hosts
  • Government, technical, and business mentors
  • Regulatory assistance with permits and government funding
  • 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

Challenge Launch
March 29
Informational webinars
April 4, 11, 18 and 25 — 1PM EST
Application submission deadline
May 6 — 2PM EST
Alert Finalists
May 10
Deadline to submit additional documentation
May 20
Winners Announced
Late June
Frequently Asked Questions

The eligibility requirements differ for each Challenge, but generally:

  • Your company will be required to meet the definition of a small business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration and found under 13 CFR Section 121.201, or qualify as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity.
  • Your company must be able to test/pilot your solution in Southwest Virginia
  • You must be prepared to deploy your solution and spend all of the revenue-based loan or grant by a predetermined date stated with each Challenge
  • Your technology has to be past the prototype stage or already have customers using your technology
  • If you are accepted as a finalist, you will be required to submit further documentation such as technical details of your solution, a work plan, and financial projections within 14 calendar days of being notified of you finalist status
  • Finalists will be also required to obtain a DUNS number and register on Sam.gov

For detailed information, please read the Applicant Guidelines posted on the Challenge webpage.