#405: Tech4good: Ylva Santesson: Empowering autonomous governments#405 - Empowering autonomous governments - LØRN.TECH


#405 – Empowering autonomous governments

Expørt: Ylva Santesson

Head of Growth

fra Red Flash Mobile

Med lørner Silvija Seres

How does Red Flash Mobile enable sustainable economic growth in Africa by digitalising micro-taxation? And how can technology help increase economic inclusion in developing countries by lifting micro-companies? In this episode of LØRN, Silvija speaks to Ylva Santesson, Head of Growth at Red Flash Mobile, about how they are helping governments digitalise the informal sector and release financial resources through micro-taxation.

Noen kjappe med ekspørt Ylva Santesson

Ylva Nicolae Santesson 

Red Flash Mobile  

Head of Growth  

Who are you and how did you become interested in this technology?
I have a background from business & economics, bioengineering and emerging markets. I became interested in this technology because of the potential impact in a variety of areas. Currently, technology is developed for a specialised use, but it can easily be developed and adjusted to provide solutions to a wide range of needs. I am excited about all the opportunities we have to bring about social impact through this technology! 

What are you doing at work?
My title is Head of Growth, and my work varies depending on the stage of the sales lifecycle. During the Katapult Accelerator programme, I was covered for our CEO while he was away signing new country-level contracts. I have been involved in all aspects of the programme and learned a lot about sales, marketing, business systems, recruitment, investor readiness and more. However, my focus has been on fundraising and getting ready for our first seed round. 

Beyond that, my role is to set up operations in new markets, putting in place the organisation, processes, recruiting and training. I also serve as operative support for the local team, preparing them to be autonomous.  

What are the most important concepts in your technology (your sub-branch)?
Building better data and putting in place the infrastructure for financial micro-services are probably the most important concepts. Our open APIs make us agile in rapidly changing microenvironments. We can integrate with other solutions and plug in new applications and features, creating comprehensive and seamless solutions that can be adjusted to changing needs and adapted to local markets. Our current focus is our lead product SMARTR Tax, providing tax authorities with an efficient, digital tech platform for micro-taxation of microenterprises in the informal sector. Digitalisation creates traceability and builds credit history, supporting the migration to the formal sector, leading to financial inclusion. This gives the individuals access to public services and social security services. We are already collaborating with one of the most influential insurance companies in Africa, offering health insurances to individuals. Once we are established in new markets, we launch a range of micro-financial services, such as micro-insurance, micro-credit, micro-lending etc. 

Why is it exciting?
It is exciting to see the correlation between doing what you are good at and actually creating real value for people and the environment – doing well by doing good. Showcasing the economic benefits and financial returns of this approach will hopefully encourage more people – investors, politicians, and industry executives – to follow our example. 

What do you think are the most interesting controversies?
Fighting corruption is crucial, but of course controversial. We continuously need to prove that our system creates wide-ranging synergies and increases revenues for governments that should be reinvested in societal infrastructure and public services. However, we cannot guarantee that the revenues we collect for governments are actually being used in the right way. That will always be questioned. We work with incentives and collaborate with large, influential organisations whose agenda is aligned with our mission. 

Your own favourite projects?
I have recently come to understand the importance of SDG 17 – Sustainable development through global partnerships. I believe we must increase and improve cross-border “multi-SDG” partnerships because everything is interdependent. Clearly, we cannot solve hunger without water and sanitation or good health and well-being without peace, justice and strong institutions, and so on. 

Your other favourite examples, internationally and nationally?
Katapult, of course! We definitely stimulate collaborations over different areas of social impact. And all the other impact-focused organisations, foundations, funds and programmes, such as Norrsken Foundation. The World Bank Spring and Fall Meetings are great forums too. Earth Hour increases awareness and insight – and there are many more! 

How do you usually explain what you do, in simplest terms?
I focus on the idea of “investment in impact” i.e. creating both a social impact and a financial return. This is key to sustainable growth and autonomy on all levels. Regarding my company, I explain that we digitalise micro-taxation, targeting the informal sector in Africa. 

What do we do particularly well in Norway of this? Or why Katapult?
Norway plays a key role in raising awareness of the pressing needs of our planet and our responsibility to create social and environmental impact. Katapult is a vital driving force in the impact investing movement. 

Recommended reading / viewing?
Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt 

A favourite quote?
“When you put the right businesspeople together and they start becoming friends, they will end up doing business together.”  

Most important takeaway from our conversation?
Reflection. The insights and learning created by reflecting, discussing and putting thoughts to words.  


Dette lørner du:

Economic inclusion
Digital ID
Impact investing
Financial inclusion

Anbefalt litteratur:

Good strategy bad strategy


Why should we be focusing on “multi-SDG” partnerships?

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