SAS Scholarship - the power to make a difference
Traveling is more than moving from one place to another. Being exposed to new experiences and cultures opens minds, encourages innovative thinking and breeds and develops great ideas. That’s what SAS hopes to explore with its new initiative, the SAS Scholarship.
This winter, the company asked people to share their ideas on how to make the world a better place – and promised to help develop them by offering study trips and pairing the lucky scholars with experienced mentors in their chosen fields.
“We’ve been working with realizing people’s dreams and ideas for over 70 years, so in a way the idea is not new,” says Didrik Fjeldstad, Vice President, Brand & Marketing at SAS. “When we launched the ‘We are travelers’ universe we wanted to inspire people to think big and realize their dreams. With the SAS Scholarship, we take this idea further and want to make a difference by inspiring travelers to explore the world in order to grow and find new ideas.”
The project was launched in October. All kinds of ideas poured in, from fields as diverse as food, ways to meet, education and technology. The criterion was that the idea had potential to somehow change the world, perhaps by seizing an exciting opportunity or providing a solution to a challenge in today’s society. The results were fascinating.
“We were especially looking for ideas within people care, sustainability, technology and design, which are the four pillars we focus on as a brand, but also for people with the right mindset, drive and will to make a change,” Fjeldstad says.
“We received all sorts of applications. Some have an idea they had kept to themselves since they were children, others are entrepreneurs on the verge of breaking through.”
After a challenging jury process, three projects, one from each Scandinavian country, were chosen. This spring, those behind the enterprising ideas will be paired with a mentor who will help them develop their ideas.
The scholars will embark on a journey around the globe, during which they will explore and develop their ideas. By seeing unfamiliar places, getting to know other cultures and meeting new people, SAS hopes the scholars will find new ways to get closer to their goals.
“It’s a program designed by travelers for travelers,” Fjeldstad says. “We know from science that travel opens your mind, inspires you and increases your tolerance of other people, cultures and traditions. We therefore want to increase the potential impact our community of EuroBonus Travelers, more than five million people, can have on the world and inspire them to take a lead.”
Those chosen for the 2017 SAS Scholarship are about to embark on an exciting journey – one you will be able to follow at scandinaviantraveler.com, on SAS’ social media channels and in Scandinavian Traveler. Keep an eye out for the next applications for the SAS Scholarship, already planned for later this year.
“We want to make a difference. My dream is to include even more people and ideas and make this program even broader in the future,” Fjeldstad says.
Map Project, Sweden
Four billion people are negatively affected by not having an adequate address. Karoline Beronius’ idea is to develop a system to provide complete, precise and easy-to-use addresses for everyone around the world.
“The lack of a proper address prevents many people from fully exercising basic civil rights such as accessing public services, getting a bank account or having emergency services locate them,” she writes in her application.
The system enables a user to register their location and create an easy-to-use alias that combines the location’s GPS coordinates, available address data corroborated by the user, street view images and smart use of landmarks.
Jessica Buhl-Nielsen and Malena Sigurgeirsdóttir are the co-founders of Wholi, a company created around a radical idea – creating foods from insects. Their vision is to incorporate insects into Western food culture by using them in flour form, and thus making them more appealing to people who might be put off by their visible wings and legs. With the support of the scholarship, the two women plan to travel the world to learn more about edible insects, discover new species which could be used in the company’s products and form possible collaborations with insect farmers.
The Flare app, Norway
Stian Sandø was chosen as the Norwegian scholar for his idea of a smartphone safety App called Flare. Using a real-time map, the App enables users to alert help from those nearby when you’re in dangerous situations. In the case of a medical emergency, assault or accident, the person in need of aid can click on the help-button in his or her phone, whereby a signal goes out to people registered to assist. What’s more, these people can often get to the site faster than the emergency services.
Text: Elna Nykänen Andersson