Johannesburg, South Africa
|Occupation||Actuary, management consultant, educator|
Taddy Blecher (born 1967) is a South African actuary, management consultant and educational entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of CIDA City Campus and was given the World Economic Forum's Global Leader for Tomorrow Award in 2002 and again in 2005.
Early life and education
Blecher was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1967. At university Blecher studied actuarial science and was given "several awards, including the Liberty Life Gold Medal for the top actuarial honours student in the country."
While working as an actuary and international business consultant Blecher "was voted consultant of the year three consecutive times at Monitor Company." In 1995 he received an R1, 3-million job offer in the US. However, after buying his plane ticket he had a change of heart and decided to remain in South Africa to pursue education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
In 1999, after four years of teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique to students at schools in the Alexander township, Blecher began contacting rural schools and city business' to recruit students and donations for an "almost-free business university" which he co-founded with 250 students. The school, called Community and Individual Development City Campus (or CIDA City Campus), provided a low cost educational opportunity, in an area of high poverty and low job skills, and cast Blecher as "a local hero." To get the school started, Blecher was given the use of a Johannesburg office building by an investment bank called Investec and his former employer gave him use of an office. Belcher taught students to type 30 words per minute using a photocopy of a computer keyboard and successfully pursued donations from companies like JPMorgan and Dell computers as well as entrepreneurs Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson. Later, Blecher was given the World Economic Forum's Global Leader for Tomorrow Award in 2002 and again in 2005. As the CIDA City campus' chief executive officer CEO Blecher accepted a $1 million dollar donation from the Skoll Foundation in 2007.
Blecher left CIDA "to start another free educational body, called the Maharishi Institute". In 2009 he co-founded "a 225-seat call centre and a large data-capture facility" called, Invincible Outsourcing. A project designed to allow disadvantaged students to earn funds for education while they are still in school.
Blecher is a member of the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa and a co-founder of an innovation award program called, InnovationTown and the Branson School of Entrepreneurship.
Blecher has been described as "a Harry Potter lookalike" with a passion for education. Blecher says he learned to meditate when he was 10 yrs old and practices yoga and meditation daily. In addition to providing the disadvantaged with educational opportunities Blecher wants to "help people find direction in their lives" and is "an advocate of transcendental meditation [sic]."
After overcoming his fear of public speaking he was described by The Star (South Africa) "as one of the top 100 people" in the news headlines and "An inspirational speaker whose incredible story made every major publication in South Africa."
- Unknown author (7 June 2005). "Taddy Blecher believes in dreams". Joburg: Official website of the City of Johanesburg. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- Lindow, Megan (6 January 2004). "Stepping into Africa's future". The Christian Science Monitor.
- Unknown author (1 September 2007). "The transcendental crusader; Face value.(Teddy Blecher, a South African social entrepreneur)". The Economist.
- Jones, Gillian (9 May 2013). "Lesson in Business Admin". Financial Mail. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- Pohl, Otto (2 January 2004). "South African university tries to close the apartheid gap". International Herald Tribune.
- Unknown author (28 January 2008). "Big business keeps the dream alive for Cida kids". The Star (South Africa).
- Nevin, Tom (1 January 2003). "A free university for Africa's disadvantaged". African Business.
- Unknown author, Track Record CIDA official web page, accessed 30 December 2012
- Jones, Gillian (16 May 2013). "Unlocking Potential". Financial Mail. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- Workplace staff (11 June 2009). "Blecher's latest venture offers hope; Revolutionary new call centre and educational academy in downtown Johannesburg to enrich lives of South African youth.". The Star (South Africa).
- Bryson, Donna (19 January 2012). "Google launches project for S. African businesses". Associated Press.
- Serrao, Angelique (8 March 2007). "South Africans have the ability to innovate and be pioneers". The Star (South Africa).
- Staff (8 February 2010). "Insight-rich guide to running a profitable business; 'Old systems often hinder rather than enhance staff aptitude". The Star (South Africa).
- Ruddick, Graham (25 July 2009). "Sir Richard Branson teaches African entrepreneurs Dragons' Den-style". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 July 2013.