Six businesses will receive $1.5 million in funding as part of the first RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenge.
With the winning funds, the businesses will create innovative technologies, services and workforce development programs to help communities along Virginia’s coastlines adapt to impending climate change.
The winners, which will receive between $160,000 and $310,000, were chosen from a pool of 51 applicants, Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week.
“As we continue to look at new ways to address the growing challenge of extreme weather events and sea level rise,” Northam said, “these six businesses will be leading the charge to develop, test and demonstrate cutting-edge products and tangible solutions to improve the resilience of our coastal communities and mitigate the growing risks to Virginians, especially in our Hampton Roads region.”
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Virginia $120.5 million through the National Disaster Resilience Competition for solutions to combat sea-level rise in Hampton Roads. From that award, HUD provided $5.25 for the creation of RISE, a Norfolk-based nonprofit that provides resources and practical solutions for businesses in coastal communities.
The Coastal Community Resilience Challenge is the first initiative created by RISE. It received $1.5 million from the Resilience Innovation Fund.
RISE’s executive director, Paul Robinson, understands the magnitude of the work the organization is doing.
“By developing the Hampton Roads region as a hub of resilience innovation for entrepreneurs, we can accelerate investment in affordable and scalable solutions and establish Hampton Roads as ground zero for the resilience economy,” he said.
Adm. Ann Phillips, a special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection, praised the efforts of the RISE organization.
“Thanks to the hard work and success of RISE, these six entrepreneurs bring creative solutions across a range of today’s needs for our coastal communities, which will help make us more resilient as we prepare for our climate-changed future,” Phillips said.
The winners of the Coastal Community Resilience Challenge are:
» Building Resilience Solutions will work on alternative flood resilience retrofit methods for older and historic structures against various flooding conditions.
» Constructis Energy will facilitate patenting technology that harnesses kinetic energy from traffic to provide power to services that clear flooded roadways.
» GROW Oyster Reefs will work on oyster reef restoration. This would improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and help combat flooding by creating an organic seawall.
» InfraSGA will build urban retrofit bio-retention systems that will decrease stormwater flooding while reducing design, construction, operation and maintenance costs.
» Landscape Resilience Partnership will expedite the adoption of green infrastructure through the growth of its workforce training program. Its goal is ensuring that Hampton Roads has a network of skilled workers to design, install and maintain nature-based solutions.
» Resilient Enterprise Solutions will provide financing, insurance and home-raising as a single source. In addition, the company will establish the Home Raising Training Academy in Hampton Roads.
More information about the winners and the next competition cycle can be found at riseresilience.org.