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Paarl, Drakenstein Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa
An EcoVillage designed by the FairValley Association members at the heart of the Cape Wineland

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unique Real-Life Experience for Overseas USB Students in Fairvalley

The Stellenbosch University Business School (USB), hosted last month (16-26 January 2008) 16 students from the FHDW – University of Applied Sciences in Germany, for their overseas training. In conjunction with Fairview Wine & Cheese Estate and the Fair Valley Association, made of Fairview’s workers, the USB offered the students a uniquely exceptional real-life experience. 5 out of their 7 weekdays spent in Cape Town, the students worked on their academic assignments in Fairview.
The task for them was to address 4 major issues in regard with the FairValley EcoVillage that the Fair Valley Association is busy planning for its beneficiaries these days. The 4 teams presented their papers on the following 4 subjects –

· Community Organization – Community organization is aimed to manage and maintain the eco-lifestyle once the Village is been inhabited. The team recommended that a Property Owners Association is to be formed and suggested two models over two stages of the development – outsourcing all logistical matters to an outside expert entity and manages directly only the community affairs. With time, the Property Owners Association will acquire the skills from the management company to run the logistics as well. It became apparent that the Fair Valley Association must take and pro-active approach toward this matter, as the POA must be up and running prior to any marketing of properties begins. Buyers must know in advance what they are buying-in to, which means constitution must be in place as integral part of the deed of sale.
· Business Development – Businesses are integral part of the EcoVillage lifestyle, as it requires cutting off commuting lines – the more people work from home, or from their close vicinity, the less travel it is. Therefore the team worked on ways to encourage future residents to start their own enterprises. The team suggested an holistic approach comprised of 3 pillars – ecological/social/economical and built a model for a comprehensive support system for the Village to establish by bringing a few forces together – financial institutions; big corporations (using mainly but not only their BBBEE resources evolve from the Enterprise Development element on their “scorecard”); USB with more academic support from students and staff, and governmental agencies from three tiers of government. The team also recommended selecting an overall theme for the businesses in the Village to create specialty and strength. The theme suggested is all-around Eco-Lifestyle, health, organic food, natural products, etc.
· Business model – This team’s task was to present 2 business models for the FVA to chose. They were given working assumptions for their calculations, so that the 2 models can be compared. One model is when the FVA develops the land on its own and the other option is that the FVA does it in partnership – a joint venture. The results show clearly that the first option is much better financially for the FVA, but nevertheless requires much higher financial risks, doubtfully should be taken. The work also shows that by developing first hand, the FVA can generate enough funds for their own beneficiaries’ houses based only on the residential component of the development. In this case the commercial segment is a financial bonus. At the JV option the FVA gets “only” its houses out of the deal.
· Marketing Plan – The marketing team was assigned to present two alternate marketing models for all the properties in the FairValley EcoVillage. Since the financial requirements are to leverage the land and the future properties towards the FVA beneficiaries’ houses, the target market for the residential dwellings selected from the emerging SA middle class 30+ years old young families of professionals, who can afford the price range of R500k-R800k per house. The team recommended the “direct marketing” approach of which big companies in the region will be offered plots and houses for their employees of this target group. The team indicated that this would be much better cost/benefit strategy compare to the “open market” model. As for the commercial properties, the team recommended similar approach, identifying enterprises which have some relations to the business themes of the EcoVillage, under the slogan – “Friendly Business Environment for Environmentally Friendly Businesses”. The team emphasized the benefits for businesses, like centrality, accessibility and exposure of the site. Benefits for home owners are - healthy lifestyle, affordability, and relatively low running-costs of the ecological friendly houses.

The students who participated in the programme were - Andreas Binder, Yvonne Börner, Peter Donners, Anika Hülsmann, Sevgi Kabukcu, Alexander Karmann, Dustin Sebastian Kersberg, Alexandra Landen, Andreas Pastor, Anna Eva Rosenthal, Johannes Schachten, Georg Schmickler, Marius Schmitz-Knierim, Esther Siegmund, Thomas vor der Sielhorst and Daniel Willms.

Tony Harris and Ori Ilan conducted the programme on behalf of USB, Fairview & FVA.

Many thanks to Charmaine Kapp – the USB International Office Administrator, and special thanks to Hennie Olivier - Head of International Programs at USB for their outstanding support.

Many thanks to Charles Back, the Fairview and the Goatshed staff, for accommodating the programme, for the warm hospitality, the great food, the wine & cheese tasting, the internet facilities, the superb dinner and the fantastic environment offered to the students for this amazing learning experience.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Supertech Eco Village 4 is overall associated with different other private bunches and henceforth it offers a benevolent living to its tenants.