Norfolk nonprofit awards $2M to small businesses to battle sea level rise
RISE awards up to $250,000 to each of five companies
Norfolk-based nonprofit organization RISE announced Monday that up to $2 million will be allocated among five small businesses to advance the design of products to help coastal communities adapt to sea level rise and flooding.
“Once again, RISE demonstrates the value of their unique model in providing economic development opportunities as solutions for Virginia to adapt and protect our coastal communities,” Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, special assistant to Gov. Ralph Northam for coastal adaptation and protection, said in a statement. “On behalf of the Northam administration, congratulations to RISE and to these five entrepreneurs who continue to expand resilience innovations for the commonwealth.”
Each of the small businesses will receive up to $250,000 through the 2020 RISE Coastal Community Resilience Challenges to advance its products. As part of the program, RISE will help them launch their products in Hampton Roads, with the goal of building businesses that could be used in other coastal communities. Winners will receive a grant to set up in Hampton Roads and a revenue-based loan to scale products and services.
“Revenue-based financing allows us to support our entrepreneurs by aligning our incentives with theirs — as their solutions become successful, so do we,” RISE Executive Director Paul Robinson said in a statement. “These loans enable us to provide funding to our entrepreneurs and generate revenue only when they do, and that can be very appealing to small businesses in contrast to conventional loans and equity investment.”
2020 winners include:
- Natrx: The company will develop and launch its mobile manufacturing units, which can be used to produce custom shoreline protection structures to prevent flooding.
- Re:Public: The company will launch its map-based risk communication platform to help non-mapping professionals to track real-time flooding risk.
- StormSensor: The company will create features for its stormwater monitoring software and hardware products. It provides communities with real-time tidal and storm analysis.
- Virginia PACE Authority: The organization, which provides financing solutions for flood mitigation and resilience improvements, will expand its outreach and create an open-market platform.
- WeatherCheck: The company will expand its product to include pluvial and fluvial flood threats, which now continuously monitors properties for severe weather damage and loss.
RISE is also accepting applications for its Urban Mobility Resilience Challenge through June 1, which will fund entrepreneurs to create a traffic application that can offer real-time vehicle rerouting to avoid flooding.