Dr Taddy Blecher BIO

Dr Taddy Blecher is the CEO of the Community and Individual Development Association and the Maharishi Institute which facilitates University education for unemployed youth from 11-countries in Africa. He also founded the broad-based BEE fund: Imvula Educational Empowerment Fund. Together with the Rockefeller Foundation, he started the Impact Sourcing Academy and Invincible Outsourcing, which provides theoretical and practical training in the Business Process Outsourcing sector to unemployed youth, thereby bringing them into the economy.  


He is known as a pioneer of the free tertiary education movement in South Africa, having helped to create six free access institutions of higher learning, as well as inspiring the creation of two other institutions.  As a result, over 14,250 unemployed South Africans have been educated, found employment and moved from poverty to the middle-class. These formerly unemployed youth now have combined salaries in excess of R700 million p.a. and expected life-time earnings of R17 billion. Over 600 000 young South Africans in schools have been reached with one-week education and life-skills training courses.


Dr Blecher is the Chairperson of the SA National Government task team on Entrepreneurship, Education, & Job Creation in the Human Resource Development Council, and results of this work include developing a national strategy of implementing Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship into the entire SA school system from Grade 1 to Grade 12.


He also serves on the British Government Task Team for the reinvention of higher education and skills development, as well as the Italian Government – South African Government Chamber of Commerce.


Dr Blecher co-founded the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship with Sir Richard Branson.


He has raised over R500 million in cash, property and equity to support free access to post-secondary school education for historically disadvantaged youth. He is consistently working on developing sustainable means to help unemployed youth in South Africa gain access to transferable skills through education, training, jobs, and careers, thereby breaking the poverty cycle.

Dr Blecher has been honoured with numerous awards, including most recently, being selected as one of 21 South African Icons in the 21 Icons initiative. He is also the 2002 World Economic Forum "Global Leader of Tomorrow" awardee, a 2005 World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader of the World", a Skoll Global Social Entrepreneur winning a $1 million prize for his work, an Ashoka Fellow, and has been honoured with two honorary doctorates.  In 2009 he was named by author Tom Peters as one of his top 5 most influential entrepreneurs in the world over the last 30 years.

A qualified actuary and management consultant, Dr Blecher is passionate about the approach of Consciousness-Based Education, a system of education developing the full potential of every student. This has led the Maharishi Institute to winning the first prize in a global competition to find the most innovative education initiative in the world.

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