This May, three teams of Michigan Ross MBAs spent the month consulting for social entrepreneurs across the United States about the business challenges they face. These intrepid travelers of Open Road at Ross — powered by Ford — were focused on everything from composting to tea shops. Business+Impact is proud to partner on this program, funded by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The program is an action-based social entrepreneurship program developed by Ross students for Ross students. Each team spent several weeks around the month of May visiting a new social enterprise every week — meeting business owners on the weekend, analyzing their business during the week, and presenting findings and solutions by Friday.
The program, in its seventh year, is popular at Michigan Ross, and is designed to equip social entrepreneurs who are making a positive social impact in their communities with the business acumen they need to succeed.
- See photos of the teams taken during their kickoff in April, 2023
- See team photos from the road, originally posted on Instagram and Medium
Team Running on Pancakes (Ankita Bansal, MBA; Jennifer Ugheoke, MBA; Zach Nerod, MBA/MS; Hayley Sakwa, MBA/MPP) traveled through the South to work with social entrepreneurs. The team chose businesses with a strong connection to community efforts for funding and improvement, and their trip began in Wheeling WV with Grow Ohio Valley, continued to Winston-Salem, NC with Partner Community Capital, moved to Marrietta, GA with Xtraction, and ended in Savannah, GA with Harvest Health MD.
Highlights of the trip included a view over Wheeling, WV, behind the Grow Ohio Valley offices, to a warm surprise visit with United Way of Forsyth County.
Read posts about Running on Pancakes’ experiences:
- Meet Running on Pancakes!!
- Running on Pancakes: Week 1, Wheeling, WV
- Running on Pancakes: Week 2, Winston-Salem, NC
Team Soup-a-Stars ( Juho Lee, MBA; Sanya Pritanjali, MBA; Vivek Varma Sakhineti, MBA; Omer Sfadia, MBA) was made up of 3 Mtrek Members, 2 Neighbors, 4 Sections, 2 Cooking Enthusiasts, 4 Internationals… all with a passion for social impact. This team travelled the Midwest, and learned a lot about parking tickets in America! They all had an interest in travel, and problem-solving with innovative thinking. Their focus was on food as a bridge between people. The trip began with Bloomsbury Organic Farm in Nashville, TN; continued with work with Vito and Vera in Little Rock, AR; before travelling to work with Galleria Asian Market in Ann Arbor; and lastly working with Ayo West African Foods in Chicago.
Highlights of the trip included the aforementioned parking tickets and the idyllic suburban dream that was Bloomsbury Farm.
Read posts about the Soup-a-Stars’ experiences:
- Meet the Soup-a-Stars!
- Week 1 : Nashville ❤ Bloomsbury Farms
- Team Soup-a-Stars Week 2: Vito & Vera
- Team Soup-a-Stars: Week3 — Chicago-based West African Food Company
Team Tetris (Aaron Friedman-Heiman, MBA; Arpit Sharma, MBA; Jacob Kennedy, MBA; Mahima Obhrai, MBA) recognized early on that diversity would be their strength. The team’s members were aligned in their mutual desire to aid small social ventures in developing community resilience. They traveled from Muskegon to Cincinnati to St Louis to Atlanta with a focus on sustainability-focused small businesses! In Muskegon, MI they worked with sustainable apparel company Oshki, then in Cincinnati, OH they composted with Queen City Commons, and in St. Louis, MO they consulted with Local Harvest Grocery, before ending their journey with Georgia Black Owned Farm Tours in Atlanta, GA.
Highlights included a visit to the Midwest Sustainability Summit in Cincinnati and duck pin bowling in Muskegon.
Read posts about Team Tetris’ experiences: