What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?

“BIDs are private sector schemes that allow businesses to come together to invest in their local environment in order to improve trading performance”.

What are the benefits of BIDs?

Invest in initiatives prioritised by BID members
Provide a strong voice for businesses to influence positive change
Guarantee sustained funding for 5 years
Coordinate investment to make the most efficient use of funds for the benefit of BID members
Leverage additional investment for the BID area
Are fair and transparent, funds are only spent on additional services

How is a BID established?

To establish a BID a successful result must be achieved by ballot. Ballot papers are distributed to every business eligible to pay into the BID fund.

To launch a BID the ballot must be successful on two counts;

  • Firstly a majority of votes must be in favour;
  • Secondly, the votes in favour must represent a majority of the total rateable value of the votes cast.

This ensures the interests of both small and large businesses are accounted for. If the vote is successful on both counts all eligible businesses will have to pay into the BID fund.

How is a BID funded?

A BID is funded by those businesses within the BID area. Each eligible business contributes a percentage of its rateable value – around 1%. This fund is then ring-fenced – unlike business rates which are redistributed by central government – and an independent BID company is established to run the BID and implement the initiatives outlined in the BID Business Plan.

Additional funding can be raised through sponsorship and grants, whilst voluntary contributions can be made from businesses outside the BID area or below the levy threshold.

Most BIDs are governed by a board made up of BID levy payers representing the BID area.

In other cities where I have worked BIDs have helped give a business focus to identifying and driving forward business related issues including marketing and events, parking concessions, late night taxi marshals and improving the overall experience for those who live, work and visit the City. I am excited by the prospect of a Leicester BID and all that it could bring to our great City at a time when we are in the spotlight more than ever before. I believe a BID will help us to capitalise on the amazing opportunity afforded by the increased media interest in the City and feel a business led, business funded organisation will help propel Leicester to the next level and ensure we continue to compete with rival cities.

Gary Rowntree

Head of Branch, John Lewis Leicester

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