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Bench Top Innovations

Creating & Commercializing Culinary Magic

IDST 379 and BAUD 369

A year-long journey in innovation and entrepreneurship starting in the fall of 2021. From ideation to revenue in less than 9 months.

What is it?

Bench Top Innovations is a student-managed course where 16 students will collaborate over two semesters, ideating and iterating on a packaged food idea, eventually commercializing it in the market.  In other words, you will actually create and run a revenue-generating business.

In the first semester, you will work (and compete) in teams to ideate and develop innovative, yet practical, food product concepts that can be commercialized. We will end the first semester with the selection of one “winning” product concept.  During the second semester, you will be challenged by working together as one unit (all 16 company “employees”) in your efforts of launching and scale your business. Throughout, your instructors, advisors, and guest speakers will supplement your experience with content applicable to the issues being faced by your business.

All key decisions will be made by the students – which product to launch, which students will hold what roles, what experiments to invest in, what pivots needs to be made.  Mistakes will be made, but that’s not the right way to think about it. Learnings will be generated is far more accurate.  We promise you the opportunity to learn.  Hopefully, you will learn about yourself, dealing with co-workers, managing through uncertainty, and overcoming adversity.

Who is it for?

If you are interested in the innovation process or in exploring your entrepreneurial spirit, this class if for you. You can be studying ANYTHING at the University of Richmond, there are no prerequisites or requirements. Innovation takes place everywhere, across each field and discipline.  And anything that interests you can be commercialized with the right entrepreneurial mindset.  Anything.

So we invite you to apply and explore the innovator and entrepreneur inside of you.

How do I enroll?

For our initial pilot of the program in 2021-2022, there are 16 available spots.  Students interested in participating in the program need to first identify if they meet the criteria: senior status, requiring less than 10 units to graduate by May of 2022, and a true desire to learn about the processes of starting and running a business. If that’s you, please apply asap via the following link: You will be contacted after submission regarding next steps.