Ross Open Road

2018 Open Road

2018 Open Road Experience #RossOpenRoad

The program, in its third year, is showing steadily increasing popularity at Ross, going from two teams to three last year, and returning with three teams again this year. This student-run program is co-sponsored by the Center for Social ImpactZell Lurie InstituteSanger Leadership Center, the Erb Institute and the Ross MBA Program Office. The program is designed to “give small business owners extra hands in solving complex challenges, and to help students gain real-world experience understanding the various issues social ventures face.”

Blog Posts:

Week One:

Week Two:

Week Three:

Week Four:

About the Teams

#TeamACAI (From Top to Bottom) Ian Stackhouse-Kaelble, Apoorva Kanneganti, Alexis Morath, & Courtney Poopat, look forward to applying their past experiences working across the healthcare, technology, financial services, and education sectors to help create an impact on the road this summer.

  • Week One & Two: Michigan Good Food Fund (Detroit)- a $30 million public-private partnership loan fund that provides financing to good food enterprises working to increase access to affordable, healthy food in low-income and underserved communities in Michigan. Team ACAI will work with an MGFF partner. Us Food Market (Detroit) seeks to create the catalyst to a healthier, wealthier Inner City Detroit through high quality food options and investment in the land and people of its neighborhoods.
  • Week Two: Mindshift (Fargo, ND) recruits, assesses, trains and employs highly skilled and motivated people on the autism spectrum.
  • Week Three: Lake Missoula Tea Company (Missoula, MT) sources sustainable, organic teas from farms working at the village scale all around the world– and helping drive local economic development across the world.
  • Week Four: Homes First (Lacey, WA) is a community-based housing development organization–a special status which the government grants to nonprofit community organizations engaged in housing development activities that benefit low and moderate income families.

#TeamMACK, (From left to right) Mark Green, Allison Bernstein, Kashay Sanders & Christopher Owen, is moved by a passion for social justice and wants to build upon  the important role small businesses play in the future of the U.S economy.

  • Week One: Lil Brilliant Mindz (Detroit, MI) provides safe, affordable, quality child care for the surrounding communities to support families in their efforts to work and/or attend school, with a focus on children ages 6 weeks to twelve years old.
  • Week Two: Green Opportunities (Asheville, NC) trains, supports, and connects people from marginalized communities to sustainable employment pathways.
  • Week Three: JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pies (Birmingham, AL) is a family-owned bakery that relies strongly on faith and a true love for good ole southern cooking and hospitality.
  • Week Four: Zuni Learning Tree (Conway, AR) is an online portal for students, teachers, districts and parents, sharing over 28,000 online resources to support educators.

#TeamTHIS, (From left to right) Tsering Sherpa, Stephanie Dollan, Jinny Han, and Thai Ha-Ngoc, bring a wide range of experiences to the table, from investment banking and operations to publishing and education.

  • Week One: Detroit Peppers (Detroit, MI) is a multi-site urban pepper farm whose mission is to create beautiful and productive garden spaces on vacant land in Detroit to reflect the countries and cultures of the many immigrants who live in the community.
  • Week Two: Compost Crusader (Milwaukee, WI) provides receptacles and hauling services to businesses or multi family units that would like to recycle their organic material (including meat and dairy).
  • Week Three: Learn Create Build (Sioux Falls, SD) is a technology camp for students, where builders, makers, and innovators gather to discover technology, design video games, learn to program and create their own content.
  • Week Four: Western Sustainability Exchange (Bozeman, MT) works to increase the economic viability of sustainably-produced food in the Montana region.
  • Week Five: Catalyst Kitchens (Seattle, WA) is a collaborative network of over 50 impact-driven organizations empowering people through job training, social enterprise revenue generation, and quality food.

Discoveries and Experiences

As in previous years, the Detroit is the first stop for all the teams’ month-long journeys. The participants meet with previous participants and Detroit Social Entrepreneurs at the PizzaPlex.  All of the participants and organizers believe social impact begin in your own backyard.

Press and Resources