Creativity-Innovation-Entrepreneurship (CIE)

Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

UR’s Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship initiative aims to foster creativity, entrepreneurial ingenuity, willingness to take risks, resilience, and competence in addressing problems and challenges from multiple perspectives. By combining the expertise of our five distinguished schools, we have a unique opportunity to provide students and faculty sustained engagement with innovative and stimulating collaborations around real-world problems.

Benchtop Innovations

BUAD 469: Creating & Commercializing Culinary Magic

A year-long journey in innovation and entrepreneurship – from ideation to revenue in less than 9 months.



Students interested in the 2024-2025 batch should apply online. 



  • Rising seniors studying ANYTHING at the University of Richmond!
  • There are no prerequisites.
  • Innovation takes place everywhere, across each field and discipline. 
  • We invite you to apply and explore the innovator and entrepreneur inside you.


Bench Top Innovations, a Robins Business School program in collaboration with the Jepson School of Leadership, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Richmond’s Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship initiative, is a year-long student-managed course where 16 students collaborate, ideate, iterate and commercialize a consumer packaged food or beverage product concept. Yes, you create and run a revenue-generating business!

In the first semester, you work (and compete) in teams to ideate and develop innovative yet practical food or beverage product concepts for commercialization. The first semester ends with a public demo day where the UR and RVA startup community samples your products. A food and beverage expert panel selects which has the most commercial viability.

During the second semester, you work as one unit (all 16 company "employees"), launching and scaling your business. Throughout, your instructors, advisors, and guest speakers will supplement your experience with content applicable to the issues being faced by your company.

Students make all decisions — which product to launch, which students will hold what roles, what experiments to invest in, and what pivots need to be made. We promise you the opportunity to learn. Hopefully, you will learn about yourself, dealing with co-workers, managing through uncertainty, and overcoming adversity.

HOW DO I ENROLL FOR 2024-2025?

There are 16 available spots. Interested students need first to identify if they meet the following required criteria:

  • senior status, requiring less than 10 units to graduate by May of 2025, and
  • a genuine desire to learn about starting and running a business.

Students interested in the 2024-2025 batch should apply online. Dr. Joel Mier, lecturer of Marketing at the Robins School of Business, will follow up after submission regarding the next steps.


Thanks to the hard work of 16 students representing majors and minors across the School of Arts and Science, the Jepson School of Leadership, and the Robins School of Business, we have run two successful Batches of Bench Top Innovations courses.

2023-2024 NOOSH has launched!  NOOSH is an eggplant based dip and spread that is savory, smooth, citrusy, with a kick of spice. 

2022-2023 Twin Tail Brews from batch two is a superberry power tea designed to help buyers focus while producing a calming effect to deliver balanced energy. 

2021-2022 The inaugural 2021-2022 batch was absurd and launched an alternative nut-free trail mixAbsurd Snacks is still going strong and is led by UR alumnus Grace Mittl and Eli Bank.


For questions, please email Somiah Lattimore
Senior Director of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Initiative
Office of the Provost