Resilience Blog Series: Sea Level Rise

Norfolk Innovation Corridor (NIC) defines resilience as adapting to “menaces for the optimal functioning of individuals, organizations and communities.”

The NIC prides itself on having the resources clustered in our Corridor that entrepreneurs and innovators need to develop resilient products, services and technologies, specifically to combat issues of Sea Level Rise, Supply Chain Disruptions, Population Health Threats and Cybersecurity Breaches. 

Ultimately, we aspire to become known as the most resilient city in America.    

Today, we want to highlight resilient efforts to combat Sea Level Rise. 

A founding NIC partner is RISE Resilience, whose mission is “powering today’s most innovative solutions to coastal communities’ biggest threats.”

 How does RISE accomplish this? 

“RISE finds, funds, and accelerates businesses creating the most promising and scalable solutions to the growing impacts of flooding and sea-level rise. By doing everything they can to expedite their success, RISE helps innovators test and refine their next-generation products in the living laboratory of coastal Virginia, so they can go on to help more people faster.” 

Paul Robinson, Ph.D., Executive Director of RISE, states, “This region is positioned to support and advance businesses in the growing resilience sector. Through our collaboration with the Hampton Roads communities, the City of Norfolk, and NIC partners, RISE offers the only innovation hub and living laboratory in the U.S. to validate next-generation solutions to the increasing threats from sea-level rise and flooding and the perfect launching pad for follow-on investments.” 

Paul is a thought leader dedicated to expediting the development of innovative technologies in the resilience sector. He is a member of 757 Angels, which is building a resilient innovation industry in the Hampton Roads region by funding startups, and Abundance 360, where visionary thinkers meet to discover how to harness the latest technologies to solve significant global problems. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of AeroTech Research, a company specializing in weather hazard detection for aircraft. He also is a Senior Advisor to Focus Investment Bank, which specializes in areas of government, aerospace, and defense. Additionally, 

How does RISE seek resilience for those affected by Sea Level Rise?

RISE was recently funded $10M to help grow resilience-related businesses in the coastal Virginia region to find solutions for Sea Level Rise.

With their program solutions, entrepreneurs have the ability to test their solutions all in one place. They help pilot, assist with the business plan, and offer the chance to collaborate with experts and stakeholders. As climate change continues to accelerate its impact on coastal communities, RISE supports solutions in order to help localities adapt and mitigate the hazards to protect the safety and prosperity of their citizens. 

Through developing these solutions, they move along five steps. 

The first step is identifying the problem. They work with entrepreneurs and stakeholders to identify the problem affecting the coastal community. 

The second step would be to source the solution. Through their “Challenge,” they call upon the brightest minds to develop and design physical scalable solutions that can be tested and applied in real-life, tangible ways. 

The third step is to deploy real-world testing. The winners of the RISE challenge deploy their solutions into a pilot community with support from RISE’s experts. Within this phase, they can gain real-time feedback and learn what is working and what needs refining. 

The fourth step is to build enterprise readiness. RISE supports solutions that are effective, efficient, scalable, and financially sustainable. RISE continues to support entrepreneurs through their business model readiness and fundraising. RISE assists in helping secure critical start-up assets, so this new solution can thrive. 

The fifth step is catalytic funding. In the early days of piloting a solution, the derisking of capital is key. Now with generous funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commonwealth of Virginia, RISE Is able to provide Challenge winners with their initial grant and loans to keep the lights on and keep their ideal scale within reach. 

Norfolk Innovation Corridor is honored to partner with RISE and support entrepreneurial efforts to devise solutions for Sea Level Rise.