2024 marks the 20-year anniversary of Business Improvement Districts in the UK, the organisations that have invested over £1billion in local services and events to deliver better towns and cities for all.
To celebrate this landmark, a commemorative logo has been unveiled, which will be used to highlight the transformational work of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) throughout a year-long programme of events and activity.
The logo, instigated by LeedsBID2 and adopted by The BID Foundation, The Institute of Place Management and two other prominent national organisations (ATCM, British BIDs), will help to champion the work of BIDs in their local area and raise awareness nationally, from communities to governments, about these organisation’s contribution to place.
Since the establishment of the first BID in Kingston upon Thames, which secured its ballot in 2004, over 350 BIDs have been founded in all corners of the UK. By raising money through levy payments collected from local businesses, BIDs have added ‘significant strategic and operational capacity’ in their areas and have contributed to the evolution of high streets and centres.
Nadia Broccardo, Co-Chair of The BID Foundation and Chief Executive of Team London Bridge, commented:
“This dynamic campaign emphasises the transformative power of BIDs. It acknowledges the significant investments BIDs have made in supporting their local communities, underscores the positive changes in public realm, and explores the meaningful civic roles they play with essential business support. This journey unfolds through the lens of one great idea, tracing the origins of BIDs and showcasing a 20-year timeline”.
BIDs were first made possible in England in 2004 by the UK BID regulations act, with Wales following suit in 2005, Scotland in 2007, and Northern Ireland in 2014.
Modelled on similar organisations that have been established since the 1960s in Canada and the US, Business Improvement Districts in the UK have since become an international exemplar, sharing knowledge back to North American counterparts and helping other nations like Spain and Portugal to evolve their own BID models.
In addition to a headline investment figure in excess of £1billion since 2014, BIDs have also created some of the most innovative and best loved public realm, local festivals, seasonal events, unique place branding, and environmental sustainability projects.
Michele Wilby, Co-Chair of The BID Foundation and Chief Executive of Colmore Business District in the heart of Birmingham, said:
“Personally, I am most proud of how, through our reputation as place makers of excellence, BIDs have become a crucial part of the local governance infrastructure. As well as the day-to-day, BIDs have become key strategic partners in shaping the places they look after.”
“There’s still more to do, but I know industry and colleagues are up for the challenge. I’m excited to see where the industry is in the next 20 years.”
In 2006, shortly after the BID regulations act in England, the Institute of Place Management was formed to professionalise and support the growing industry of town and city management and leadership. The BID Foundation was later formed in 2018 and is now a community of practice within IPM, in recognition of the unique role BID professionals play in the wider context of economic development, regeneration and placemaking.
In Leeds in May 2024, sector bodies will come together at a special event and exhibition stand at the UK's Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) to showcase the work of BIDs and engage with thousands of visitors to the city, raising awareness and understanding of the importance of place management and governance models like BIDs to the health of communities and the broader economic growth of the UK.
Speaking about the impact of BIDs, Professor Cathy Parker MBE, Chair of the Institute of Place Management said:
‘What BIDs do really effectively is convene local resources and interests and put these to very practical use to make a tangible difference to the people who work, invest, live and visit the places they work. We owe a huge thanks to the businesses that fund this, and to the world class BID leaders that we have across the UK.
They really are at the heart of so many places - with unrivalled local knowledge - working with so many people - their local communities and local authorities, not just business – to ensure we get the right experience of and impact from our town and city centres.”
“BIDs show what you can achieve with great people, resource, and a good governance structure. They should continue to be at the heart of local management and development strategies for many years to come”.
BIDs in the UK can download and use this unique commemorative logo on any online and offline communications, to communicate their role in the sector and celebrate their achievements.
2 LeedsBID – the largest multi-sector UK Business Improvement District outside of London