Ross Open Road

2017 Open Road

2017 Open Road Experience #RossOpenRoad


This year’s Ross Open Road participants worked closely with previous participants to create the 2017 program.

In its second year, the student-created Ross Open Road increased to three teams, sending these students across the country for several weeks in order to work with and learn from social enterprises.  Three teams will visit 14 orgs in 10 different states for a week at a time. At the end of every week they resolve a key strategic issue. Co-sponsored by the Center for Social Impact, Zell Lurie Insitute, and GM, the Ross Open Road experience was designed to allow MBAs the opportunity to apply lessons they learned in college to the issues of real entrepreneurs in a mutually-beneficial way.

Experience Ross Open Road in these weekly Student-Written blogs:

WEEK OF MAY 1:

About the Teams

#TeamOKRA, made up of (left to right) Ozge Sahin (MBA ’18), Kevin Jones (MBA ’18), Ravi Patel (MBA ’18), and Ava Damri (MBA ’18), will visit four enterprises during May 2017. The journey begins in Detroit with a mobile cafe and ends in California with an assistive technology provider, as it focused on four companies with food and technology focuses:

  • Week One: Sisters on a Roll (Detroit, MI), a mobile cafe bringing food with love and soul to neighborhoods
  • Week Two: Be More Colorful (Fargo, ND), a virtual reality content management agency with a strong sense of social responsibility
  • Week Three: Sola Cafe (Bozeman, MT), a cafe and market serving locally-sourced meals and coffees that match lifestyle preferences
  • Week Four: RJ Cooper & Associates (Lake Forest, CA), creating and adapting, researching, assessing, and helping to implement special needs technology

#TeamRAZA, comprised of (left to right) Ryan Schell (MBA ’18), Ariana Almas (MBA ’18), Zach Friedman (MBA/MS ’19), and Athena Stevenson (MBA ’18), will head through Chicago and North Dakota on their way to Montana, focused on a variety of entrepreneurs across the Midwest:

  • Week One: Merit Goodness (Detroit, MI), selling high quality clothing that helps kids get to college
  • Week Two: Vice District Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL), a place for beer in an environment of diversity and inclusion on Chicago’s Southside
  • Week Three: Wild Idea Buffalo Company (Rapid City, SD), selling the meat of buffalo who are given respect, dignity and care throughout their lives
  • Week Four: Fargo Brewing Company (Fargo, ND), creating and distributing locally-sourced beer in the heartland
  • Week Five: The Golden Yoke (St. Ignatius, MT), ice cream purveyor using ingredients from Montana and Pacific Northwest farmers

#TeamWCKD, comprised of (left to right) Wiles Kases (MBA/MS ’18), Colleen Hill (MBA/MS ’19), Kenji Kaneko (MBA/MSI ’18), and Dilparinder Singh (MBA ’17), will head south to New Orleans and west to Denver, focused on food and community development:

  • Week One: Detroit Training Center (Detroit, MI), providing adults with knowledge, tools, and skills to add value to their communities
  • Week Two: Gilden Tree (Omaha, NE), purveyors of body care products using envronmentally-friendly manufacturing
  • Week Three: Ba-Nom-a-Nom (Fort Collins, CO), selling dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan fruit desserts
  • Week Four: Roots of Renewal (New Orleans, LA), a community development nonprofit focused on ex-con re-entry through work on the elimination of blight
  • Week Five: J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works (Malden, WV), locally sourced salt-makers

Discoveries and Experiences

As in previous years, the Motor City was the first stop each team’s month-long journey. This years participants joined with previous participants and Detroit Social Entrepreneurs at The Skip in Detroit.  All of the participants and organizers believe social impact begin in your own backyard.

Many of the students, studying particular areas of business, will get a richer knowledge of the challenges of entrepreneurs, including funding, strategic planning, distribution, and marketing.  As the program moves forward, we will add specific discoveries from the 2017 teams

Press and Resources