Dr Taddy Blecher
Dr Taddy Blecher is the CEO of the Community and Individual Development Association; CEO of the Maharishi Institute; Chairman of the SA National Government task team on Entrepreneurship, Education, and Job Creation; and a pioneer of the free tertiary education movement in South Africa.
Dr Blecher co-founded the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa with Sir Richard Branson, and has raised over R450 million in cash, property and equity to support free access to post-secondary school education. As a result over 5 500 unemployed South Africans have been educated and found employment. Over 600 000 learners have been reached with one-week education and life-skills training courses.
Dr Blecher was a 2002 World Economic Forum "Global Leader of Tomorrow", a 2005 World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader of the World", and a Skoll Global Social Entrepreneur winning a $1 million prize for his work. He has been awarded two honorary doctorates. In 2009 he was named by author Tom Peters as one of his top five most influential entrepreneurs in the world over the last 30 years.
A qualified actuary and management consultant, Dr Blecher is passionate about consciousness-based education, a system of education developing the full potential of every student. This has led to the Maharishi Institute winning the first prize in a competition to find the most promising and innovative education initiative in the world in October 2010. He is involved in the development and operation of key education initiatives, including Invincible Outsourcing, the Ezemvelo Eco-campus MERU, 21st Century Learning Labs, and the Africa College Fund.