Here’s How Ross Juniors Are Proposing We Solve the Most Pressing Problems in America Today

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The opioid epidemic. Student loan debt. Social media’s effect on the trustworthiness of the news industry. Environmental degradation. These are some of the biggest issues facing the U.S. today, and Michigan Ross juniors were tasked with creating potential business solutions.

Their proposals were presented at the Zell Lurie Institute Entrepreneurship Challenge, a three-day event which charged teams of Ross juniors to develop innovative solutions to the problems facing society.

BBA juniors participate in the challenge through the new undergraduate MERGE curriculum. The challenge is part of the junior Integrative Semester, in which students learn to look at a problem from different angles to come up with the best solution.

Eight student teams made it to the finals, and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges at Michigan Ross. The teams’ innovative solutions included:

  • Construct Change, which works to end the opioid crisis through continued care with art-focused programs.
  • BioGenius, which aims to end food waste through biogas systems that can power our world.
  • FinEd, a financial literacy tool that helps high school students understand the student loan landscape.
  • Perfectly Imperfect Produce, an app that connects farmers to restaurants with the goal of reducing food waste.
  • BluPill, which aims to stop abuse of opioids through increasing transparency between patients and doctors.
  • MISA, a Marketplace for Income Share Agreements, allows investors to support the future of students via an online marketplace.
  • Statisfaction, which aims to help combat untrustworthy news sources with statistics through a Chrome plug-in.
  • The Better Advertisers Bureau, which wants to help stop the advertising stream to non-credible news sites.

More than 30 local professionals, leaders, and entrepreneurs helped judge the students’ proposals and performance throughout the challenge. The eight finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of three judges: Michael Gordon, faculty director of the Center for Social Impact, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of business administration; Terry Nelidov, managing director of the Erb Institute; and Wayne Baker, the faculty director of the Center for Positive Organizations, professor of sociology and organizational studies, and the Robert P. Thome Professor of Management and Organizations at Ross.   

The judges selected BluPill as the winning pitch, created by Mia Heard, Vinayak Kannan, Gillian Levine, and Alissa Moore. The team created an innovative pill capsule out of methylene blue to easily identify abuse of opioids by those in the medical field.

Learn more about the Ross Integrative Semester