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Tashmia Ismail-Saville


Tashmia Ismail-Saville thrives on purpose-led work, which has found a perfect outlet in YES (the Youth Employment Service), which she established and serves as Chief Executive. YES is a joint initiative between business, government and labour, created to address South Africa’s mighty youth unemployment challenge. Together with her dedicated team, 1010 corporate partners and in 16 months, YES have created over 35 000 work experiences for youth with over R1.4 billion in salaries going back into the economy via youth wallets.

Tashmia has started 4 businesses, served as business school faculty, lecturing in innovation management and inclusive business, for over 8 years in SA, Rotterdam and at the Kelley School of Business in the US. She has co-authored a book called New Markets, New Mindsets, and several case studies and research papers based on company innovation experiences in multiple countries. Locally and internationally, areas of focus include innovation, inclusive business, digital training and behavioural research. Some awesome apps and content have emerged from this work, with over 13 000 marginalised youth clocking close to 5 million minutes of online business training on smartphones over a year and across the country-4IR in action.

Contributions have also found form in research, consulting and building models for multinational firms, multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and governments. She started with a medical qualification in dentistry (WITS), practised as a dentist, then completed an MBA at the Gordon Institute of Business Science and is a PhD fellow at UNU Merit- University of Maastricht (Netherlands). She would like to say someday she is a recovering chocolate addict, but not quite yet.