Our vision is to reveal the true potential of East Lothian, Scotland’s Food and Drink County, as a quality destination for food and drink products, by providing ease of access to our incredible product portfolio.
The East Lothian Food & Drink BID is a unique opportunity for businesses to take the lead in building a more prosperous future for their businesses, attract investment and develop working partnerships with commercial and public agencies.
Working together we will release the huge potential to grow and develop our food and drink sector both within and beyond our county, supporting the future growth and sustainability of our food and drink companies.
A business improvement district (BID) is about businesses working together, investing collectively in local projects, in addition to those delivered by the statutory authorities, that will be of benefit to local businesses and economy, over an agreed period of time (normally 5 years).
BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the private sector by means of a compulsory levy, which the businesses within the proposed BID area must vote in favour of, before the BID can be established.
All businesses that meet the BID criteria contribute and share the benefits.
The History of BIDs
BIDs first started in Canada over 40 years ago in a small town called Bloor West Village. Businesses were struggling to cope with competition from a new out-of-town shopping centre, which resulted in many business insolvencies, empty shops and a neglected looking town centre. Businesses got together devising a plan to revitalise the town, successfully lobbying for legislation for all businesses in the proposed BID area to pay a levy.
The investment levy was used to make physical improvements to the appearance of and to promote the town centre. The strategy paid off and the model successfully copied to create BID areas throughout the world.
The Future of BIDs
Scottish BIDs have a 100% success rate at being voted into a second term, the total investment they are now making in our urban centres is over £34 million. BIDs really do work as a tool for providing the positive trading environment which businesses want for themselves and their clients. BIDs in Scotland now represent over 10,000+ businesses across the country.
No longer restricted to town centres, BIDs have grown and matured dramatically to become highly focused and committed delivery bodies. Leaders in influencing positive change, they are innovative, develop partnerships and meet local challenges in a range of sectors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?
A BID is a geographically defined area, where businesses with a shared interest and common ambition come together to generate funds and decide how these should be spent locally to improve their trading environment and help grow their businesses.
BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the private sector by means of a compulsory levy, which the businesses, within the proposed BID area, must vote in favour of before the BID can be established.
A BID is not a substitute for central or local government expenditure, but an additional investment to strengthen the local economy.
BID projects have been used elsewhere to enhance town centres, tourism and business parks, bringing a range of improvements, such as better promotion and marketing, community events, projects and loyalty schemes, all of which can drive sales and attract more investment.
What will a Food and Drink BID do for East Lothian?
An East Lothian Food and Drink BID will deliver a range of projects and services to support the growth and sustainability of Food and Drink Companies, whatever their size, delivering a return on investment through tangible results and benefits.
The BID will help local producers take their business to the next level in terms of growth and profile, providing them with a strong local voice. It will offer the opportunity to work and invest collectively; attract additional funding to bring sustainable growth to an already thriving food and drink sector in the county, as well as showcase East Lothian as one of the UK’s premier food and drink locations.
Has this kind of BID been done before?
No, the East Lothian Food & Drink BID is the first of its kind in the world and the first BID in East Lothian.
There are a growing number of BIDs across Scotland, with 34 already in operation, including the recent additions of Crieff, Dunblane, Glasgow Byres Road and Lanes, Edinburgh West End and Penicuik; all voting yes in 2015, and a further 13 in development.
The success and popularity of BIDs is also clear with 100% of areas voting their local BID in for a second term.
How is the BID funded?
Legislation will require all local producers to sign up to the scheme, paying a sliding scale levy depending on their size, based on number of employees.
Unlike business rates, the money doesn’t go to the Scottish Government for redistribution. It remains in East Lothian to be spent on the priorities identified by local food and drink businesses themselves to help make their businesses grow.
In addition, there will be match funding from East Lothian Council, as well as the opportunity to collectively apply for funding that might otherwise not be available.
Already the BID has received a £7,000 grant from the Community Food Fund to help promote the BID and provide a dedicated, commercial website, which all local food and drink producers would benefit from.
How can local businesses benefit from the BID?
The BID will support food and drink businesses through marketing and promotion, sales and distribution support; provide access to grants and funding that would not be available to individual businesses; help lobby on issues that affect local companies and offer a portal for information, support and mentoring.
Overall, it will help grow the food and drink sector, helping to raise awareness of its provenance and the high quality products on offer.
How long does a BID last?
Will the BID affect rates or any support already received by the local authority?
Which businesses will be eligible to be included in the BID?
Will local producers have the choice whether to be part of the BID or not?
What about other producers?
Voluntary membership is open to all food and drink producers or manufacturers based in East Lothian.
For more information, please contact:
Maggie Mitchell | firstname.lastname@example.org | 07952 970325
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