Rising to the Challenge
At this week’s Technology Demo Night, set against the stunning backdrop at the New York Academy of Sciences, companies demonstrated exactly how they would protect communities and small businesses from future storms.
A few weeks ago, at the start of Climate Week, Mayor de Blasio committed New York City to a bold new goal: reducing carbon emissions 80% by the year 2050. Through the new plan, “One City: Built to Last," the City will work to retrofit public and private buildings to dramatically reduce the city’s contribution to climate change, while stimulating major cost savings and creating thousands of new jobs for New Yorkers who need them most.
This plan demonstrates that responding to climate change isn’t just smart environmental and social policy—it's good economics!
All of these goals come together in RISE : NYC. Resiliency Innovations for a Stronger Economy (RISE) is a NYCEDC competition designed to seek out the world's most promising resiliency technologies. With up to $30 million in federal funding available, winners will receive grants to implement their technologies at small businesses across the city Small businesses are vital to our economic strength and the vitality of our communities, and yet they are also at the forefront of the challenges posed by global climate change. RISE : NYC technologies will enable small businesses to better resist, adapt to or bounce back from future storms
From over 200 applications received, the competition was whittled down to only the most promising and impactful technologies. Over the last few months, the 27 RISE : NYC finalists have been working with their small business and community partners from across the city to tailor their proposals to the needs of New York City.
From storm surge barriers to wireless networks to batteries charged by solar and wind, RISE: NYC technologies are as diverse as they are innovative.
There are technologies, like FloodSax, which provides a simple alternative to sandbags. They are lightweight, compact, sandless bags that inflate when they come in contact with water – providing a potentially faster and more efficient way to prepare for a storm.
There are communication devices, like goTenna, that enable small businesses to stay in touch , even without a cell or data connection. goTenna connects wirelessly, over Bluetooth, to enable any smartphone to send and receive critical information.
And then there’s innovation at the local level. Red Hook WiFi, a program of the Red Hook Initiative, is a wireless mesh network built for the community by the community, expanding WiFi coverage to small businesses in the neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Sandy. In the event of a power outage, Red Hook WiFi will continue to provide real time updates to residents. It also incorporates an educational component, training young people in Brooklyn to build and maintain their neighborhood’s own network.
Through all of these collaborations, companies are finding real-world test cases for their products, making it easier for them to scale their technologies and maximize their impact.
We congratulate and thank the 27 RISE : NYC finalists for their work to build a resilient and strong economy. RISE : NYC technologies will strengthen the small businesses that are the backbone of our city. Advisors and evaluators are now reviewing final proposals, with awards expected in the coming months.