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Dr Taddy Blecher is the CEO and co-founder of the Maharishi Institute, and Imvula Empowerment Fund in South Africa, which facilitates access to holistic post-secondary education for unemployed youth from 17-countries across Africa. He is a pioneer of the free university-education movement in South Africa, and co-founded the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship with Sir Richard Branson. As a result of his work, over 17,580 unemployed South Africans have been educated, found employment and moved from poverty to the middle-class. These formerly unemployed youth (70% of whom are women) now have combined salaries in excess of R1.05 billion p.a. and expected life-time earnings of approximately R28.5 billion. Over 600 000 young South Africans reached with 1-week life-skills training. He is co-founder of Tendrel, a global organization for Social Impact Leaders to support each other. He is the Former Chairperson of the Enabling Entrepreneurship Task Team, of the HRDC (Human Resource Development Council), and emerging from that work, has worked with the national Department of Basic Education on the Entrepreneurship in Schools initiative and Sector Plan, and with the national Department of Small Business building the National Virtual Incubator, a set of mobile-phone based tools to support small business in SA, and the Services SETA on their national Entrepreneurship Development Institute.
Awards include: Chosen as one of South Africa's Icons in the 21 Icons initiative. World Economic Forum "Global Leader of Tomorrow" awardee, a World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader" awardee, a Skoll Global Social Entrepreneur winning a $1 million prize for his work, an Ashoka Fellow, and has received two honorary doctorates. His work on education and youth employment has been profiled in over 50 published books. He was named by author Tom Peters as one of his top 5 most influential entrepreneurs in the world over the last 30 years.

Regional Focus

Eastern and Southern Africa