Who is Raluca Bacinschi-Stratulat?
“I am an architect by training, but a teacher by vocation. I have a passion for building buildings, but also a passion for building people” says Raluca Bacinschi-Stratulat, a charismatic social entrepreneur and CEO at IziBAC.
Raluca started teaching while she was still a student at the Architecture University in Bucarest. Her passion for sharing knowledge only grew after she received her first degree. She then decided to study psychopedagogy to improve her teaching skills and help other architecture students to learn and to pass their exams. Her efforts were soon rewarded as Raluca’s students started achieving remarkable results.
Besides having fun while learning, they also succeeded in entering the most important Universities worldwide as top students. Thanks to these great results, Raluca decided to develop a mobile app that encourages all students to re-discover the pleasure of learning by having fun.
“When we are born, we all have the joy of learning, but somehow, along the way, we lose the focus and the curiosity; we stop using our creativity, our imagination and we stop having fun. That’s why I decided to create IziBAC”
What is IziBAC?
IziBAC – “Izi” to recall the Romanian phonetical spelling of “easy”, followed by the short for Baccalaureate “BAC”– is a mobile application for both Androids and iOSs that aims to facilitate learning for the Baccalaureate exams. It’s a freemium game-based educational mobile app with strong built-in gamification methods based on the Octalysis framework, and with an internal marketplace for engaging video content. IziBAC offers instant gratification throughout the learning process and stimulates anxiety-free studying. Available in different languages, the platform can be applied to almost any kind of educational content. Moreover, with more than 52 thousand users, IziBAC doesn’t only offers quiz games, but also media resources, friendly courses, video and audio lessons and peer-to-peer learning community, where students can interact with and help each other.
What is the role of cooperation in her efforts?
The role of cooperation is essential in Raluca’s work. For instance, IziBAC has partnered up with a variety local NGOs, whose task is to introduce new educational content to the app, especially in the field of civic education, personal development, entrepreneurial and social education. As she puts it:
“It’s a win-win situation because NGOs help us add new content to our app, and our students get to know the NGOs and quite often they start volunteering for them”.
Additionally, IziBAC is also working side by side with other actors, such as vocational counsellors, psychometric testing and educational counsellors. “We want to be the bridge that connects NGOs and business, she affirms, “if we all cooperate, we can have a stronger and wider positive impact”.
What are her biggest achievements?
“Our users’ achievements are my biggest achievements”, says Raluca. She is proud that the app is registering new subscriptions and continuously receives positive feedbacks and active engagement from the users. More importantly, IziBAC’s students are learning while having fun, they are passing their exams with great results and they are succeeding in breaking down previous insurmountable obstacles.
Raluca says that her second biggest achievement is also her biggest obstacle: being a woman leader in tech.
“It can be challenging to guide a man-driven team while maintaining my femininity. I now started accepting and embracing being a woman, which was hard for me. I used to think that if I show that I am a woman then they might think that I am weak, that I cannot govern, that I cannot manage, that I cannot lead. I kept pushing it aside but after a while I realised I become more powerful when I embrace my femininity.”
What are Raluca’s plans for the future?
Raluca wants to expand IziBAC’s borders, literally and figuratively. On one hand, she wants to make to make the app available in more countries, both on the EU and on the global level. On the other hand, she plans to engage people of different ages by introducing a variety of new exams on the app – from the IELTS test to the driving licence test. Apart from her plans to boost the I-tech sector in her country, Raluca wants IziBAC to become the main tool that teachers and schools can use on a daily basis.
What is her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
“Women have such an amazing power, but it takes strength to be able to manage it. Being patient and kind to ourselves are the two initially steps we must take to direct our power in a constructive and positive way”