charlesCharles Zhang

My name is Charles Zhang, I am 21 years old and live in Sydney, Australia.

In 2015, I spent a semester abroad at Maastricht University in the Netherlands studying economics and innovation. It was here that I developed an avid curiosity for entrepreneurship that was entrenched in the romantic start-up narrative of one person fundamentally changing the world around them by simply identifying a problem and taking a chance on fixing it. Returning home to Sydney, this found grounding in the social enterprise space. With the latter part of 2015 filled with social enterprise courses, competitions and my own budding idea, what began as an interest in start-ups developed into a passion for social entrepreneurship which resounded with me as a mechanism for individuals (social entrepreneurs) to change the game and tackle pressing social issues in ambitious and influential ways. I am passionate about social enterprises and the entrepreneurs behind them. My idea is a social crowdfunding platform for the underrepresented homeless and disadvantaged community of Sydney that aims to change the way Australians donate. You can follow the idea here.

I am absolutely humbled and grateful to have won the CA ANZ Top 100 Future Leaders Award for Accounting & Financial Management and I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to attend the One Young World Summit and to have this passion for social enterprise and social good reinvigorated. The inspiring words of the OYW speakers and the international diversity of delegates will provide invaluable insights and will no doubt stir the next generation of social entrepreneurs – of which I hope to include myself – into action. Thank you CA ANZ and thank you One Young World.

I am studying a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Finance, and have had the fortune of building a foundation of accounting and audit experience at a Big 4 professional services firm. My degree and my experiences have allowed me to enact positive change in a variety of ways. 180 Degrees Consulting is the largest student consultancy in the world and focuses on providing management consulting services to not-for-profit organisations. Since 2013, I have worked with 180 and in my current role as Consulting Director for the University of Sydney branch, I will lead 4 engagements with local and national not-for-profit organisations over the course of 2016, using the quantitative and qualitative business analysis skills learnt from my time in audit to help these organisations tackle their complex problems and increase their social impact. At a more tangible level, I am firm believer in volunteering and have involved myself in causes such as the St Vincent de Paul’s Night Patrol here in Sydney, and Resto van Harte in the Netherlands whilst studying abroad. More aspirationally, as stated above, I have immersed myself in social entrepreneurship with a goal of building a business that could change the way Australians donate. I believe that supporting the nascent social enterprise space of Sydney buoys the national culture of positive change and quite importantly reinforces the prospects of future change to come. With the support of CA ANZ that I have been lucky enough to receive and the unique opportunity to attend the One Young World Summit, I will endeavour to learn as much as I can and to use this to continue to enacting positive change in my community, my country and the world.