Although they have existed since the 1970s, Scotland's first five BIDs became operational in 2006, paving the way for another 25 successful town-centre BIDS throughout Scotland, with another 30 in development.
The more BIDs we see in action, the clearer it becomes that the model is not only sustainable, but highly effective. The future of Scotland's town centres looks far brighter than once feared.
BIDs generate an initial budget by charging a small levy to all businesses within the designated area. The levy charged is commensurate to the projects that those businesses wish to see performed. This levy is usually doubled or tripled by sourcing external funding. This can come from the Local Authority, lottery, European Union, or any number of charitable organisations and accreditation schemes, depending on the type of project in question.
All funds generated are then used to invest in the town centre and bids area.
It is the combination of constitutional power, use of funding streams, focused dedication and expertise that makes a BID the most powerful mechanism available to revitalise trading areas.
Straight to work
Throughout the second half of 2014, we spoke to every business in the town centre BID area to ask how they'd like to see their trading area improved. Those consultations became our Business Plan and one of the most popular ideas we heard was to host an outdoor market. This would encourage people to use the town centre and, just as importantly, enjoy themselves while they're there.
Well, didn't we just deliver! The inaugural Penicuik Market was held on Friday 5th June in Penicuik's shopping precinct and was a huge success. Shoppers descended on Penicuik in their thousands to pick up some of the finest food, drink and crafts Scotland has to offer, while giving local businesses a well-deserved boost in trade.
Locals told us they'd never seen the precinct so busy and traders were blown away by its success. Most had to call for backup after selling out before midday!
Each market will grow, have new stalls and offer a wider selection now that stallholders know the Penicuik Market means business!