A group of 16 University of Richmond student entrepreneurs will soon be supporting a product created by their classmate. Lume, a cold brew iced tea that produces “controlled energy,” emerged as the winner of the second annual Bench Top Innovations Great Bake Off.
“Bench Top Innovations: Creating & Commercializing Culinary Magic,” is a year-long program where students idealize, develop, and commercialize innovative and practical food or beverage products. This course is a partnership between UR Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, Robins School of Business, Jepson School of Leadership, and School of Arts and Sciences.
Students worked in teams and presented their products to a panel of judges that included University leadership and food and beverage investors during last month’s field competition. At stake — funding for further product development and being the sole focus of the class. Next semester, all 16 students will work as a unit to launch and grow their business around the flagship product, Lume.
“Lume is a cold black iced tea drink with added caffeine and L-Theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid,” said junior Grace Clarke, the drink’s co-creator. They will offer tea in a variety of flavors, including super berry.
In their presentation, the Lume team highlighted the use of L-Theanine, which occurs naturally in plants, as a component of their products to increase energy and counteract caffeine’s typical side effects, such as anxiety or trouble sleeping. They labeled this “controlled energy.”
“We know that caffeine and L-Theanine are a good balance,” says Clarke.
“The judges chose Lume because they thought it was the most ready-to-sell product,” says marketing lecturer Joel Mier, who co-taught the course with Executive-in-Residence and Health Warrior co-founder Shane Emmett.
Other ideas this year include some non-dairy options and an orange juice/protein powder mix.
The year-long CIE Benchtop Innovation program is designed to emphasize creativity, inspire innovation and spark entrepreneurship. The winner of last year’s inaugural competition was Absurd Snacks, a roasted peanut-based trail mix designed for people with food allergies, which is now available online and at many retailers.
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