Small Wellington Businesses to Get a Boost

18 October 2012

An initiative to encourage small businesses to take matters into their own hands to drive local business initiatives was today signed-off at the Strategy and Policy Committee meeting.

The Business Improvement Districts Policy (BIDs) was developed by Wellington City Council following a call from community and businesses leaders in Wellington suburbs. The policy outlines how the Council can help businesses by using the mechanism of a targeted rate to build a communal fund to help drive their business.

The Council's Economic Portfolio Leader, Councillor Jo Coughlan, commends the policy, saying it gives communities the opportunity to raise funds for local projects they think worthy and are not currently funded through rates.

"It's a tough time for small business. This is one way we can help businesses to facilitate projects that they think will help them do better," says Cr Coughlan.

"We're giving businesses in particular suburbs or high streets the impetus to develop a self-imposed business plan for their area, and the mechanism with which to fund it."

Cr Coughlan says that for BIDs to work, it has to be community driven.

If signed off at the Council meeting next Wednesday (24 October), further work will be done to BIDs, including consultation with the small business community.

Cr Coughlan stresses that the work that could be carried out through BIDs is not to be confused with operational Council work.

"We're not expecting suburbs to look after their own repaving or street cleaning - this is a chance to pool resources to grow their businesses.  This could be to develop a website or another promotional tool to help drive customers to their door. Or it could be hanging flower baskets on the street, whatever they choose. It's entirely up to the community to decide what's best for them through this initiative."