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What are BIDs?
BIDs are an arrangement whereby businesses come together and decide which improvements they feel could be made in their place, be it town, city centre, tourism destination or business park, how they will implement these improvements and what it will cost them. BIDs are financed and controlled by the businesses within the selected area. BIDs deliver additional projects and services over and above those already provided by public bodies.
Why do businesses support BIDs?
A BID is a mechanism which allows businesses to raise a sum of money collectively to manage and deliver projects that they have identified and believe will improve their trading environment, ultimately increasing trade for those businesses who are paying for the improvement.
Who pays for a BID?
Once projects and services have been agreed, businesses will pay a small amount (known as the ‘BID Levy’) to manage and deliver projects that they have identified and believe will improve their trading environment and performance, ultimately providing a return on their investment.
How is a BID monitored?
Like any good business plan, specific key performance indicators (KPIs) are set and are monitored against the KPI’s developed by the BID board. The BID Company is accountable to the businesses that pay the BID Levy, and will be required to inform and communicate with its members on progress.
How does an area become a BID?
Normally a ‘BID Task Group’ is set up which is responsible for putting together a detailed business plan setting out the projects it aims to deliver on behalf of the businesses in the BID area and is based on a detailed consultation process. The business plan will include the projects, cost, delivery guarantees, performance indicators and the management structure. An independent and confidential postal vote is held with all the businesses that would potentially pay the BID levy. To become a BID a majority of those that vote must be in favour by both number and size (business floor space). A successful BID then has a mandate for a maximum of 5 years after which the BID would need to seek a re-ballot to continue.
Who is developing the Main Street & Surrounds BID?
The Main Street & Surrounds BID was initially proposed in 2019 by the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB), with the backing of the Chamber of Commerce and HMGoG. Shortly thereafter, The Mosaic Partnership, a UK-based consulting team of BID and place management specialists, was brought onboard to develop and manage the Main Street & Surrounds BID project. The Mosaic Partnership has a 100% BID success rate, with every BID they’ve worked on successfully voted in by the businesses involved, and has worked on projects globally, including the UK, USA, Spain, South Africa, Singapore, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and more. A BID Task Group was formed in October 2019 consisting of a range of businesses that cover the BID area geographically and sector wise. The BID Team welcomes the involvement of more businesses, and should you wish to work with the, please do get in touch.
Do BIDs actually work?
Yes. BIDs have been around since the 1970s, and have continued to grow in popularity because of the big benefits businesses see. There are now over 2000 BIDs around the world, including over 300 in the UK. In the UK alone, BIDs raise over £150m in total, with individual BIDs raising anywhere from £100k to £30m. Currently, over 100,000 UK businesses pay a BID levy. Businesses continue to vote for BIDs time and time again because of the positive impact they’ve had, with 9 out of 10 re-ballots (voting on whether to continue the BID after its initial 5 year term) successful. In addition to this, governments are increasingly preferring to distribute their own business support measures through BIDs as they benefit from a formal legal structure and corporate governance.
Does this mean the Government will stop delivering or reducing services?
No. BID money can only be used to carry out projects/services ADDITIONAL to those that public services have to provide. Prior to the BID business plan being produced, the current services being delivered by all public agencies including HM Government of Gibraltar (HMGoG) and Police are set out in Baseline Statements. Baseline Statements for the following areas are available for the Main Street & Surrounds BID:
- Cleansing & Maintenance
- Festivals & Events
- Business Support
- Landscape & Planting
- Transport & Car Parking
- Waste Management
- Street Furniture & Lighting
This means that HMGoG continues to deliver that level of service. The BID Company can agree to provide additional resources to deliver a higher level of service over and above the benchmarked level is this is what businesses have identified they want.
How will our businesses benefit from Main Street & Surrounds becoming a BID?
The great thing about BIDs is that it’s the businesses who decide and direct what they want for the area. The benefits of BIDs cited by businesses within them are numerous and wide-ranging. These include:
- Stronger voice and significantly more influence
- Businesses get the opportunity to shape their commercial area effectively, being able to control the space outside their business’ premises
- Businesses are represented in issues affecting the area
- BID levy money is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area – unlike business rates which are paid to, and redistributed, by government
- An enhanced visitor experience resulting in increased footfall and increased spend, for both consumer-facing and business-to-business businesses
- A cleaner, greener, more welcoming town centre
- Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses
- Assistance in dealing with HMGoG, Police and other public bodies
- Significant improvements to look, feel and value of commercial area
- Better promotion and marketing of our town centre leading to improved perceptions of both local residents and tourists
- Targeted solutions for individual sectors and areas
- Reduced business costs and improved return
Is the Main Street BID being run by the Government?
No. The Main Street BID can only come into being if you the businesses vote yes in a legal and independent ballot. If the vote is a yes it will be run by a private not for profit company controlled and managed by you, the businesses that pay the levy. In short the BID is run by the businesses, for the businesses.
The Company will have a Board of Directors made up of business owners from the BID area. Each year, board elections will take place, meaning that every business owner will have the opportunity to put themselves forward for a position on the Board. The Board will be tasked with running the BID company, and undertaking the projects outlined in the BID Business Plan.
Although the BID is not being run by the Government, HMGoG has been incredibly supportive of the project, and has made the generous commitment of pound for pound matching – doubling the money we have to invest in our place.
Will the BID improve levels of customer service?
The BID will strongly back the improvement of customer service within the town centre area. Although individual customer service is in the control of each business, the BID will encourage an increase in standards, and provide businesses within the area with training opportunities for both owners and their staff.
This applies to “customer facing” businesses such as retail stores and restaurants, as well as to office-based businesses and all other businesses within the area.
Why does the BID Business Plan include attracting tourists when there are global travel restrictions in place?
The BID Business Plan covers the key project areas that will be invested in over the course of the five year lifespan of the BID. While the “Marketing, Promotion & Events” key project area aims to increase Gibraltar’s profile and market our town centre to both local residents and tourists, this will be managed in an appropriate way, taking all necessary considerations into account.
For example, if there are still travel restrictions in place, the focus of that key project’s budget will shift towards marketing, promotion and events that give local residents more reasons to visit and spend time in our town centre.
Flexibility and being able to responded quickly to changes in circumstance are key benefits of BIDs around the world. The ability to be nimble and shift focus strategically when needed is one of the reasons that UK businesses based in BID areas have received significantly more support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic than businesses not based in a BID areas.
Why are all businesses within the BID area included – shouldn’t it only be for shops, bars and restaurants?
A BID aims to create strategic development and sustainable, inclusive economic growth and resilience for an area. Although some projects may on the surface appear to have more of a direct positive impact on certain business sectors, the indirect benefits of these will positively impact the area as a whole.
For example, marketing to tourists may directly benefit shops, restaurants and hotels more than other businesses, however, if these businesses do well, they demand more products and services of other business sectors, as the positive economic impact circulates.
There are also a number of proposed initiatives in the plan that will directly impact businesses across all sectors, such as the preferred supplier programme. This programme will aim to procure a wide range of business services and products at a reduced rate, exclusive to businesses within the BID area – giving your business both direct cost reductions and a competitive advantage over businesses falling outside the BID area.