Dr Taddy Blecher BIO
Dr Taddy Blecher is the Chairman of the SA National Government task team on Entrepreneurship & Job Creation in the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa, as well as the CEO of the Community and Individual Development Association, the Maharishi Institute and the broad-based Black Economic Empowerment fund: Community & Individual Development Trust.
In his national entrepreneurship role for South Africa Taddy has achieved:
1. Entrepreneurship will be included in the curriculum for every child from Grade 1 to Grade 12 in all provinces of South Africa. Over 12 million young South Africans will learn about this critical field of economic opportunity in theory and in practice on an annual basis
2. Entrepreneurship education will be included for one million youth per year going through the technical and vocational College system
3. A new national portal for entrepreneurship is being developed under the Department of Trade and Industry, and a national virtual incubator to reach any number of small businesses through internet-enabled mobile devices is being built. This includes:
a. Free website initiative together with Google, that has assisted 65,000 South African firms to have a website
b. Free MBA, BBA, PDM, and Certificate in Management, including all books, curriculum, video lectures, manuals, mock exams, etc, that has been accessed by 500,000 South Africans
c. A financing tool accessible my mobile phone to assist every business to gain access to public or private sector financing
4. A new national Council on Entrepreneurship is being created (alongside the new Small Business Development Ministry)
Dr Blecher co-founded the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship with Sir Richard Branson, where over 4,500 individuals have been trained and assisted with building businesses. The Branson Centre based on the success in South Africa, has been replicated in Jamaica and in the UK.
Taddy 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 out of nothing, as well as inspiring the creation of three other institutions. 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 business chamber board.
He has raised over R500 million in cash, property and equity to support free access to post-secondary school education. 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.
Taddy is consistently working on developing sustainable means to help unemployed youth in South Africa gain access to transferable skills through education, training, jobs, entrepreneurship, and careers, thereby breaking the poverty cycle.
Dr Blecher has been honoured with a number of awards, including: the 2002 World Economic Forum "Global Leader of Tomorrow" award, 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 Fellowship, 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 in October 2010.