Meet the entrepreneur building tech for social impact

A background in social work and technology gave Melbourne’s Emma Koster a unique insight on how to solve systemic societal problems.

emma koster feature image

Problems like overcoming language barriers in a health emergency, or how the government can better communicate health alerts for notifiable diseases to Australians who don’t speak English at home.

These were big problems that weren’t really being resolved. Emma could see a way to resolve these issues, launching a carefully curated community of passionate tech-heads dedicated to improving social issues by putting digital tools in the hands of the right people.

Dubbed Good Hood, the community launched in 2013 with a mission to build digital tools that will empower individuals and governments to tackle challenges like gender-based violence and access to healthcare and advocacy.
emma koster image

While the vision was solid, she knew she needed to build Good Hood as a business, and that a financial partner would be crucial. She decided that an American Express Card was going to be a better bet than trying to secure a bank loan.

Emma applied for the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Cardto help her balance cash flow in her business. “Access to capital so that we can do this work is always really tricky,” she says.

The Card allows business owners to take greater control of cash flow with up to 51 days to pay for purchases.¹

“It’s increasingly difficult to manage projects because funders are never clear about when payments will be made. I’ve definitely made a nuisance of myself internally for some of these organisations because it’s crippling for a small company to work in this way. Governments and big organisations often defer finance even after a project has been funded without communicating that,” she says.

Emma explains: “I believe in working towards a future when technology is used for good, and where good means for the good of all. And I could see a way to bring a more considered approach to responsible corporate systems using technology.”

“Our customers are the intermediaries like government or large non-profit organisations, who are notoriously bureaucratic and therefore difficult to work with,” she says.

Her motivation is to bring about change for the better in the world around her, particularly among people who perhaps fall through society’s gaps because they’re locked out by structural racism and other discrimination.

She admits it’s been a tough slog. “Doing this work very much requires raging against the machine on a daily basis and looking for opportunities to be heard by those with pockets deep enough to fund the work,” Emma says.

emma koster image

A good journey

Emma has extensive experience in tech. Her career has tracked alongside the development of social media, smart phones and consumer apps for many years.

She settled in Germany in her twenties, which was a melting pot of creativity.

emma koster image

She returned to Australia but admits she quickly tired of making websites and advertising campaigns, which led to the launch of Good Hood.

Her American Express Qantas Business Rewards Cardprovided an important lifeline, with up to 51 cash flow days available as it has been needed.

“Working with purpose is a passion of mine, and I had spent time working as a youth worker, so wanted to combine those interests and skill sets to problem solve, which I’ve always enjoyed,” she says.

Funding for her projects came from a range of sources, including government, not-for-profit organisations, and social enterprises. “We can deploy a project, then reflect, iterate, evaluate, and iterate again once we start to measure its impact once it’s out in the world,” she says.

She sees herself as a technology advocate as opposed to a public advocate for the social issues she’s working to address through her technology.

Managing cash flow

“There are times when I’ve had to pretend to that emails and invoices I’ve sent out have been coming from an automated system to chase up the funds I need to keep the technology creation happening,” says Emma.

Via the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card, Emma is able to access no pre-set spending limit which does not mean unlimited spending and purchases are approved based on a variety of factors2. Emma also has up to 51 days to pay for purchases1, which makes it easier to manage cash flow in her business.

Emma also utilises the Qantas Points3 she earns through her American Express Qantas Business Rewards Cardto cover all or part of the cost of business related travel. The Card gives her two entries each year to the Qantas lounge4, where she can keep up with her emails in peace on travel days.

This particular American Express Card is considered the best pick for anyone who wants to manage their business cash flow and enjoy a bunch of rewards as well.

Emma’s advice to others using a card to manage the financial bumps that come with running a business is to ensure that the balance is paid off in full every month and to maximise the points where possible. “Being able to save on travel costs has been a real bonus in this line of work,” she says.

Emma shares her top tips for business success:

Collect the points: By putting all spending through her American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card, Good Hood has been able to earn enough Qantas Points to cover a decent portion of Emma’s business travel costs

Focus on your skills: Emma combined her experience in social work and technology to solve problems that she knew weren’t being resolved by others

Look for ways to solve problems: By setting out to solve big problems that exist in society that others haven’t already solved, you’re more likely to stand out in the crowd

Focus on cash flow: A business needs cash to be able to survive and thrive, so don’t be afraid to speak up if your debtors aren’t settling their invoices, even if that means creating a nuisance of yourself. Using the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card allows Emma to extend her cashflow by up to 51 days ¹

Learn from your experience: When it comes to creating something that didn’t exist before, things won’t always be smooth sailing. Use the mistakes along the way to learn so you’re constantly honing your craft.

While you’re here: Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest tips, deals and news. It only takes a few seconds and we respect your privacy:

Scroll to Top