The Cape Town science centre : a comprehensive business plan
Faure, Christian Rudolph
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This business plan describes the activities and projected financial operation of the Futropolis, a new science and technology centre to be located at Century City, Cape Town. The Futropolis is the first of a network of science and technology centres that will be established by MTN in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa with the aim of increasing the techno-literacy of all South Africans. The Directors and Financial Managers of science centres and theme parks throughout the world have been consulted during the compilation of this business plan. Financial statements from over 20 science centres have been obtained and studied, and several books on science centre planning and management have also been consulted. In addition, we have benefited considerably from discussions with the developers of the Ratanga Junction Theme Park at Century City. This business plan details the nature of science centres world-wide, their target audience and the benefits to the communities that they serve. It describes in detail the elements that will be introduced into the science centre, their function, and all costs involved in their implementation. The success of the Futropolis is dependent on our ability to raise the necessary seed funding to purchase the interactive exhibits and displays. The financial scenarios clearly indicate the ongoing viability of this venture should the initial capital be raised. The Futropolis is a R29 million venture comprising a R12 million purpose-built centre, R12.5 million exhibits and displays, and R4.3 million facilities. Annual turnover (excluding temporary exhibition revenue) is R11 million per annum. A section 21 company (the Interactive Science Foundation) has been formed as an umbrella organisation to oversee donation income and to ensure that the disbursement of funds takes place in the manner envisaged. MTN has already committed to the Futropolis initiative in the following ways: * The R2.5 million purchase of the GeoSphere * The salary and running costs of Professor Bruton and his team In addition, MTN has committed to the following technology and environmental education projects that will further be developed in association with the MTN Futropolis: * The MTN 'Corporate University' project that will develop needs-driven university and technikon training courses for present and future MTN staff * A 5-year commitment of R2.5 million to the MTN SUNSTEP project * Identification with the SUNSAT programme * An annual regional commitment of R600 000 to the MTN Whale Route This business plan identifies the sources of funding for the various components of the Futropolis. Funding has already been secured or committed in principle for approximately R1 0 million's worth of displays and exhibits. It is highly likely that the balance will be raised on making this initiative public, but the financial projections assume that the balance will be financed through normal financing channels, i.e. loans from banks. Included in the overall cost of the project is R12 million needed to construct the building. Monex (the developers of Century City) have undertaken to construct the building at their cost and to lease it back to the Futropolis at a nominal rental of R50-m2 plus operating costs. The normal rental for space in the Century City shopping complex is in the range R1 00 - R220-m2 per month, depending on the size, frontage area and length of the rental period. Monex is therefore offering a considerable reduction (about 50%) on the rental for the space offered to the Futropolis. The size of the space rented for the Futropolis will be 4000-m2 (3500-m2 for front-of-house displays, 500-m2 for behind-the-scenes storage and workshops) at a monthly basic rental of R200 000. In addition, an office space of 340-m2 has been made available to us in an adjacent office block, at a monthly rental of R23 800. It is recommended that: 1. MTN guarantee the rental for years 1 and 2 (MTN financial years 2001, 2002), and underwrite the balance of the lease. This amounts to R1 342 800 for year 1 from October 2000 to March 2001, and R2 685 000 for year 2 (April 2001 to March 2002) 2. MTN provide working capital in the amount of R550 000 for the period April to October 2000. The Futropolis is an MTN initiative, and as MTN is guaranteeing the rental, it will be named the MTN Futropolis with visible branding along two prominent walls, at the entrance, on billboards adjacent to the N1 , on a 40-m high tower, and on all printed material and advertisements emanating from the Futropolis.