Founded in November of 2016, Strawacademy Africa is a Cameroonian Christian hybrid (Non-Profit + Profit) Organization with dealings in Inspiration & Capacity Building, Entrepreneurship & Business Development, Vocational Education, E-learning & Academia, Art & Entertainment, Agriculture, Environment & Conservation, Community Development & Nation Building. Apart from being an inspirational power house and a running business development Academy with 57 registered members, Strawacademy is a business incubator with over 7 Incubatory Startup Businesses.
Inspiring a paradigm shift in the mind of the average African from the age-old government-dependent, opportunity-seeking, school-to-job mentality to an entrepreneurial opportunity-creating and innovation-driven system of thought…
Strawacademy Slogan 1: Raising a Generation of Brand New African Minds
Strawacademy Slogan 2: New Mind – New Life – New World
Strawacademy members are called – Strawleaders
Mac Alunge created his first entrepreneurial venture, BIGSEA Academy, which was an educational platform to help prepare GCE Advanced Level holders to sit for the competitive entrance examination into the Medical Schools in Cameroon in 2012; it partially employed 7 Medical Students and lasted 3 years. During the same year, he created Mac’s Chicken, a small-scale poultry farm which he used to finance his other projects. By 2013, he rallied 19 young people from the University of Buea for an initiative he called ‘Project Magic House’ with a vision to establish a real-estate database to help potential tenants find homes without a struggle. The project later became too cumbersome and soon halted but later the team continued working on another idea ‘Project Dream TV’ which involved digital adverts on LED Electronic Billboards. The team was promised investment finance from the dawn of the idea but was later disappointed. During the time, he also worked on ‘Project Fire Wire’, a Pishon Enterprise project. Project Dream TV and Fire Wire were operated under Strawberry Incorporated. Fire Wire finally halted owing to sociopolitical issues. During the time, Mac decided to send inspirational messages to all team members every morning. This went on for about 6 months and even after the project did not work out, the phone inspiration went on and expanded to other people who were not part of the project and the feedback was explosive. After a year, Mac realized he had an archive of close to 10,000 inspirational quotes. He took these to MTN (Mobile Telephone Network) through Yellowdot Cameroon and was able to sign a contract to send it all over Cameroon in English and French. This project would later be called ‘Inspire Me Telecom’, the first Strawacademy Project. This inspiration later gravitated into a monthly inspirational magazine, ‘Inspire Me Magazine’, which was the second Strawacademy Project. After a few inspirational summits, an Organization was launched and Strawacademy was birthed in March of 2016 and later officially registered in November 2016.
Origin/Meaning of Strawacademy
Mac and his team were trying to figure out different departments of their advertisement company Strawberry Inc, and decided to name each arm with the prefix ‘Straw’, just to identify with the vision. There was: Strawmarketing, Strawaccounting, Strawmedia… and the arm they intended to be responsible for team building and personal development, they called Strawacademy. It just happened that Strawacademy matured so greatly during the process and overshadowed all other aspects.
‘Strawacademy’ is one word not two ‘Straw Academy’.
The Prefix ‘Straw’ did not have any intended meaning originally… but after being asked over and over, the team decided to give it a meaning: ‘Straw’ means ‘Enlightened, Inspired, Anointed, Wise, Above-the-System, Spirit-Revealed or Insightful’
Strawacademy activities commenced with Bimonthly Inspirational Summits (formal gatherings) and Weekly Cells (informal gatherings). The organization partnered with the Delegation of Arts and Culture to carry out a census to know the number of Music Studios and Artists present with its home town Buea, a musical initiative it termed ‘Strawmuzik’ in 2014. With attendance of over 50 people, the organization began to expand and a number of enterprising young people matured in the organization, leading to the formation of the Strawacademy Business Incubator, currently mentored by the Business Development Centre, Jongo Hub.
Strawacademy partnered with Royalty (founded by Mme Doris Ngum) and Mike Yanou Foundation (founded by Mme Nicole Yanou) on their Mile 16 Community Development Project in early 2016. Soon after, the organization instituted its Inspirational Picture Library called ‘Inspire Me Picture Library’ which contained hundreds of Inspirational Pictures. By July 2016, Strawacademy partnered with the Higher Institute of Management Studies (HIMS) Buea to launch an incubator within the school; called the HIMS/Strawacademy Business Incubator which was the birth place of Mac’s first book, How to Start a Business with Little or No Capital. By September 2016, Inspire Me Audio Book (audio inspirational content) production commenced and by October, the Strawacademy Anthem was composed. In November of 2016, Strawacademy setup its first agricultural cooperative in the village of Tole Buea, together with a Strawinspirational Club. By January 2017, in partnership with Zoe Communications (founded by Mme Nicole Yanou), the organization began the production of video inspirational content for TV. This is called ‘Inspire Me Video Book’ which featured about 100 short videos before June of 2016. By August 2017, inspired by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDEF), Strawacademy produced its first video documentary on Conservation entitled ‘7 most critically Endangered Animal Species in Cameroon’, which went on to win the CMTV Video Award 2017. The video later developed into a project called Project Green Video which attracted a partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (the Regional Branch for West Africa) and is aimed at ‘Scaling African Civil Society Engagement in Nature Conservation through the Production and Publishing of African-borne audiovisual content’.
LESA (Leadership and Entrepreneurship Strawacademy) is a monthly short-course training program Strawacademy currently organizes in partnership with 21 other local Organizations and just by the first week of January 2018, Online LESA (Online Learning Platform) was launched and is set to host 1,000 short courses for different instructors in multiple fields once completed. By February 2018, Strawacademy and Global Entrepreneurship Corps partnered with Pishon International (Cameroonian) and AfrikaSpice Ltd (Japan) to host their Agro-Investment Meetup in preparation for their Food Processing Industry Establishment here in Cameroon.
Strawacademy is a vision with potential relevance in all fields of life. Still very young, the Organization focuses on growth, establishment and gaining grounds.