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Student entrepreneurs win beverage competition with cold brew iced tea product that counteracts negative caffeine side effects

A group of 16 University of Richmond student entrepreneurs will soon rally behind a product created by their classmates. Lume, a cold brew iced tea that delivers “controlled energy”, emerged as the winner of the second annual Bench Top Innovations Great Bake Off.

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A group of 16 University of Richmond student entrepreneurs will soon rally behind a product created by their classmates. Lume, a cold brew iced tea that delivers “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 ideate, develop, and commercialize an innovative and practical food or beverage product. The course is a partnership between UR’s Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Robins School of Business, the Jepson School of Leadership, and the School of Arts and Sciences.

Students worked in teams and presented their products to a panel of judges that included University leaders and food and beverage investors during a pitch competition last month. At stake — funding for further product development and becoming the sole focus of the class. Next semester, all 16 students will work as one unit to launch and scale their business around the winning product, Lume.

“Lume is a cold brew black iced tea with added caffeine and L-Theanine, a natural amino acid,” said junior Grace Clarke, the drink’s co-creator. They will offer the tea in a variety of flavors, including super berry.

In their pitch, the Lume team highlighted the use of L-Theanine, which occurs naturally in plants, as a component of their product to boost energy and counteract the typical side effects of caffeine, like jitters or trouble sleeping. They have labeled this “controlled energy.”

“We learned that caffeine and L-Theanine were a great balance,” said Clarke.

“The judges chose Lume because they thought it was the product most ready to hit the shelves,” said marketing lecturer Joel Mier, who co-teaches the course with Executive-in-Residence and Health Warrior co-founder Shane Emmett.

This year’s other ideas included several 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 the inaugural competition last year was Absurd Snacks, a roasted bean-based trail mix designed for people with food allergies, which is now available online and at many retailers.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Education

Henrico students set to showcase their skills to employers at Career Rodeo Skills Challenge

As at a traditional rodeo, the HCPS participants will wear numbers as they show off their skills, to make it easier for spectators to identify them. After past editions of the Career Rodeo Skills Challenge, employers requested resumes and interviews from hundreds of students.

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Henrico County Public Schools students will demonstrate their skills for potential employers at the 2023 Career and Technical Education Career Rodeo Skills Challenge, to be held Feb. 23 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

This year’s event will provide a new crop of students the chance to launch their careers, and employers the opportunity to fill critical positions with skilled employees.

The event will enable students to show what they’ve learned in the school division’s career and technical education programs, to form connections and lay the groundwork for employment. Students from HCPS’ Advanced Career Education — or ACE – centers will solve work-based challenges in front of potential employers, who can request resumes and even interview students on the spot.

As at a traditional rodeo, the HCPS participants will wear numbers as they show off their skills, to make it easier for spectators to identify them. After past editions of the Career Rodeo Skills Challenge, employers requested resumes and interviews from hundreds of students.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Education

Nominate an incredible HCPS educator for the 2023 REB Award for Teaching Excellence

Central Virginia recipients of the REB Awards for Teaching Excellence have earned graduate degrees, climbed mountains, studied the effects of climate change, traced their ancestors and met peers from around the world — all to reignite their own passion for learning and to pass it on to their students. Each of their REB journeys started with a nomination.

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Central Virginia recipients of the REB Awards for Teaching Excellence have earned graduate degrees, climbed mountains, studied the effects of climate change, traced their ancestors and met peers from around the world — all to reignite their own passion for learning and to pass it on to their students. Each of their REB journeys started with a nomination.

Nominate the special Henrico County Public Schools teacher in your life for an REB Award for Teaching Excellence. Nominations are due Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. The annual awards provide a tangible, public way to recognize outstanding HCPS instructors — and give them the means to continue growing. The awards are given by the Community Foundation, and identify, recognize and support teaching excellence in the Richmond area. Honorees receive professional development grants, given to teachers who have distinguished themselves by their inspiring classroom performance. Grants have been increased and range from $5,000 to $15,000.

Through a nomination process, approximately 15 outstanding teachers are selected each year to receive cash grants to support professional development activities. Nominations are invited from parents, students, educators and the community at large. Individuals may nominate only one teacher. Teachers may not be nominated by their principal and may not nominate themselves.

Nominations must be made online. A letter in support of the nomination must be written by another individual and submitted online with the nomination.

Who: The Community Foundation invites nominations from students, parents, colleagues, school staff and administrators (except for the school principal), and members of the community.

When: Nominations and letters of support must be submitted online by Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.

How: Go to henricoschools.us and look under “What’s Trending” for a link with full details, or visit cfrichmond.org/REB. For questions regarding nominations, email Tracie Weston, HCPS’ director of professional learning and leadership, at [email protected].

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Education

No Kid Hungry Virginia awards $255,000 in grants to 17 schools, community organizations

No Kid Hungry Virginia recently distributed $255,801 across 17 school districts and community organizations to expand and strengthen food access for children and families in Virginia.

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Childhood hunger continues to be a pressing issue in the Commonwealth. According to the latest estimates from Feeding America, about one in 10 Virginia kids face food insecurity.  

No Kid Hungry Virginia focuses on increasing access to meal programs managed by school divisions and local nonprofits as a proven strategy for addressing hunger in Virginia communities.  

“Our talented and devoted nutrition teams know what works in their communities, and this latest round of investments will help operators innovate and reach more kids,” said No Kid Hungry Virginia Director Sarah Steely. “We remain committed to supporting schools, community-based organizations, and regional food banks that are working to close the hunger gap in the commonwealth.” 

The latest grants will support a variety of needs identified by grantees, like meal service equipment upgrades, as well as helping to launch farm-to-school and backpack programs. 

No Kid Hungry Virginia grants include:

  • Accomack County Public Schools: $20,000 
  • Appalachian Sustainable Development: $10,000 
  • Arms Open Wide Ministries: $20,000 
  • Blessings in a Backpack – Mount Vernon Community School: $4,800 
  • Brunswick County Public Schools: $6,841 
  • Central Virginia Food Bank – FeedMore: $10,000 
  • Core Foundation Inc. DBA Helping Hungry Kids of NOVA: $5,000 
  • Dinwiddie County Public Schools: $15,000 
  • Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank: $15,000 
  • Hampton Roads Community Action Program: $25,000 
  • Healthy Harvest Food Bank Inc.: $19,160 
  • Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Inc.: $8,000 
  • Loudoun County Public Schools: $25,000 
  • Louisa County Public Schools: $11,200  
  • Norfolk Public Schools: $25,000 
  • Petersburg City Public Schools: $20,000 
  • Quin Rivers, Inc/Thrive: $15,800 

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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