Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge

Our Ocean is in crisis. Ocean heating, pollution, overfishing, rising levels of acidity and biodiversity loss are eroding its sustainability, incurring huge financial cost and loss of ecosystem services to countless communities, societies and businesses around the world. Investing in the ocean is essential if we are to protect the world’s precious coastal and marine natural capital, mitigate climate and financial risks, and build resilience in the communities adapting to climate change.

ORRAA’s aims are to drive $500 million of investment into ocean nature-based solutions and surface at least 50 novel finance products and build the resilience of at least 250 million climate vulnerable coastal people by 2030. To help reach this goal, we are launching our second Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge to select and nurture up to six community-led innovative and scalable financial and insurance products that build coastal resilience and reduce ocean risk.

This second wave of the Challenge, launched in partnership with the Swiss Re Foundation and with the support of the UK Government’s Blue Planet Fund, will build on the work done with our first cohort of winners throughout 2021. The deadline for submissions has now been closed. 


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Financial innovations to build coastal resilience

We are calling for proposals from individual organisations or consortiums across public, private, local civil society, international NGOs and academia. Both experienced implementers as well as start-ups, hubs and accelerators from the Global North and South are encouraged to apply.

We are looking for innovative and scalable finance and insurance products that drive investment in coastal natural capital and increase resilience. The initiatives must also reduce ocean risk for the most vulnerable, include a focus on gender, equity and human rights, and protect biodiversity.

The submissions will be rigorously assessed based on criteria including viability, innovativeness, scale of impact and equity. Winners will be announced in early 2022.

Benefits for winners

The Challenge’s winners will receive customised mentoring to maximise their potential for impact, scalability and investability. ORRAA and partner organisations will offer support following a four-step approach: analysing the local context to ensure full understanding of the target communities’ challenges; refining project proposals to ensure that they meet the needs of local stakeholders; optimising proposed solutions to improve their business models; and developing a roadmap for implementation.

The Challenge winners will also be connected to funders, supported in their preparations for formal pitching, and attend the Leadership Academy designed to bolster the skills needed to achieve their projects’ long-term goals. Mentors from ORRAA and its partners will work with project leaders to build a broader ecosystem of partners and potential investors, while helping them prepare to take more active roles in leading their solutions as they grow.

Some next-stage funding will also be granted to winning projects that graduate from the Challenge and meet pre-agreed criteria.

Overall, the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge aims to strengthen the projects’ potential for successful launch and scaling by refining business models and boost individual and institutional resilience, and ultimately help them to maximise their impact on the communities and regions most exposed to ocean risk.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and send our application form to innovation@oceanriskalliance.org by 23:59 GMT on 31 December 2021. More details on eligibility, selection criteria, benefits for winners and the Challenge’s process and timelines can be found in our FAQs/Guidelines for Applicants document.

Applicants are encouraged to attend one of four online sessions to meet some of the Challenge assessment team, hear about the experience of previous winners, and ask questions on any aspect of the competition. These sessions will take place on:

These are open Zoom links and all potential applicants are welcome to join. Queries can also be sent at any time to innovation@oceanriskalliance.org.

About the Swiss Re Foundation

The Swiss Re Foundation reflects Swiss Re’s social and humanitarian values. To help build resilient societies, the Foundation offers tailored grant financing as well as access to expertise and collaborative networks to create measurable, lasting impacts at scale in focus areas of climate risk management and natural hazards (climate smart agriculture, coastal resilience, disaster risk reduction at community level), access to health and income opportunities and societal resilience. To read more, click here.

About the UK Blue Planet Fund

The UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund supports developing countries to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty. The Fund, financed from the UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, is an important part of the UK’s global leadership on marine issues which puts tackling climate change and the loss of biodiversity as the UK government’s highest international priority. To read more, click here.

“The Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge helps us build a pipeline of investable projects that deliver a genuine impact in local communities while having the potential to mitigate ocean and climate risk more broadly. Drawing on the multi-sector expertise of our members and partners, the Challenge enables ORRAA to surface, grow and scale promising solutions, and act as a catalyst to accelerate both locally-led innovation and investment to protect the Ocean and the communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on it.” Karen Sack, Executive Director and Co-Chair of ORRAA