Young social entrepreneur wins talent search

We've been saying it for a while now, but working abroad and volunteering on your gap year really is a way to boost your CV. A number of people come back from travelling, use their experiences from working and volunteering, and set up their own travel business. After all, that was how gapyear.com was born!

One man has been fast-tracked into the world of business by winning one of the most prestigious competitions for young social entrepreneurs.

Charles Batte, 24, from Uganda, has beaten off competition from over 60,000 other people to win Smaller Earth's Your Big Year competition. Charles will now embark on a life changing gap year which will see him fulfil the role of global ambassador for social entrepreneurship, meeting captains of industry, world leaders and getting first-hand experience of working in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects on six continents, improving living and welfare conditions in some of the poorest places in the world.

Having grown up in the slums of Kamwokya surrounded by drug addictions, unemployment and crime, Charles knew from an early age that he wanted to dedicate his life to being a social entrepreneur and improving conditions for others. Aged 20 Charles set up a farm that produces maize and beans which now employs 50 people and provides food for thousands more. In addition, he won a scholarship to study medicine. Six months ago, he built the first clinic in his community, and he is only 24.

An elated Charles said: "I am extremely excited about the prospect of such an amazing opportunity and can't wait to complete my year of CSR and business projects. Social entrepreneurship is such a powerful tool, and I hope that through my work and telling my story, I can touch the lives of many young people and inspire them to become social entrepreneurs. I hope my experiences will help me develop as a person and as a leader of tomorrow."

Chris Arnold, founder of Your Big Year, said: "The aim of Your Big Year is to provide inspiration and confidence to anyone with ambition, and I am delighted and so proud to name Charles as our winner. Throughout the whole selection process, Charles has shown astonishingly mature business ethics, impressive oratory skills, and a real sense of social responsibility and will for change, so rare in a 24-year-old. I can't wait to send Charles off on his trip, and see what results he can achieve for social entrepreneurism."

If you could set up a business after your gap year, what would you do?

If you're looking for ideas and inspiration for volunteering then head to our volunteering section.

Oh, and here's Charles's video: