Date posted: 29/03/2019

Catching breaks, taking opportunities and making a difference

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My name is Charlie and I studied Bachelor of Commerce at University of Sydney. CA ANZ gave me the break I needed to make a difference, and this is the story of how it all came about.

Like a number of commerce students, I began my career as an accounting cadet with EY. After an enriching experience there, having acquired the foundations of accounting and business, I gravitated towards the start-up space and spent a year working at the online food delivery company Deliveroo. During this time, a couple of friends and myself began building a website - a social giving platform for individuals in need. We called it Journey Crowdfunding.

In late 2016, I entered the Grad Connection Top 100 Future Leaders Awards, specifically for the Accounting and Financial Management Award sponsored by CA ANZ. I was fortunate enough to win the award, and even more fortunate still, this meant a trip to Ottawa for the One Young World Summit.

One Young World is a conference that brings together 1,300 young people from every country in the world with world leaders, social activists and a couple of Hollywood celebrities. Thinking back, One Young World offered two remarkable opportunities.

The first was the opportunity to have my perspective transformed. My perspective on what was possible for a young person to achieve. I met young people actively countering extremism. I met a young entrepreneur providing housing and education for former child soldiers. I met young people making a real difference in the world.

The second was the opportunity to pitch Journey Crowdfunding to a New York-based organisation called The Resolution Project. My pitch was a success and Journey was able to secure seed funding to launch in Sydney!

In the months following One Young World: we finished building our website, signed partnerships with two social organisations, and launched on 1 February 2017 with four crowdfunding campaigns. Looking back, it is hard to ignore how improbable it was for everything to work out as it did. The story of Journey is barely linear and filled with its share of snakes and ladders. But reflecting on the past couple of years, one thing has been clearly instrumental in Journey' s creation and success - that is the willingness to take the opportunities that present.

After all, Journey is the product of a series of opportunities and questions. I am very glad that I put my hand up and said "yes" every time.

Charles Zhang

Article written by Charles Zhang
Co-founder - Journey Crowdfunding