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Nat Robinson: Allowing Refugees to Safely Store and Access Their Money

Nat Robinson: Allowing Refugees to Safely Store and Access Their Money


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Nat Robinson, CEO of Leaf Global Fintech. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Nat! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing at Leaf Global Fintech?

Nat: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! We are helping refugees and people fleeing conflict in their home country to safely move their money on their phones so they are not robbed along the way. We are allowing refugees to bring more of their funds with them to new countries so they can get a better start to a new life.

Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?

Nat: I had previously worked in Kenya in microfinance and saw how transformative financial services can be for the poor and excluded. We saw that refugees and migrants were leaving their countries and carrying cash with them, leaving them vulnerable to being robbed. My co-founder and our team developed a smartphone and non-smartphone app so our customers can take their physical cash and convert it to digital cash on their phones. This way, the customer could safely cross a border without being robbed or taken advantage of by criminals. Now, our application can be downloaded all over the world to help people.

Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?

Nat: We are allowing more refugees and migrants to have access to safe places to store their money that moves with them regardless of what country they are from or move to. Many refugees struggle to open bank accounts in new countries because they do not have the identity documents required for the accounts or banks simply refuse to serve them because they are refugees. Without a bank account in many countries, it is very difficult to get a job, build savings, or pay for things like food and healthcare. We are working to address this challenge with our services.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Nat: We launched our services in ten countries across Africa and received recognition from the United Nations (UNICEF funding award). We are hoping to leverage this relationship to help more refugees around the world.

Spiffy: That’s great! Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?

Nat: During the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our investors decided not to invest in our company any longer. We worked hard to find other organizations to support us and were able to use the slower time to rebuild our application, and then relaunched an even stronger service after the pandemic.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Nat—it’s been an honor!

Nat Robinson is a serial social entrepreneur. He has pioneered companies that transform the lives of communities around the world and influence social change. Nat is the co-founder and CEO of Leaf Global Fintech, a blockchain-backed digital wallet across Africa that helps refugees and migrants protect their funds. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 8, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.