Group in BID to make town a better place for business

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Selkirk Means Business is the motto for a new initiative that seeks to make the town a better place to do business which is a key priority of the Selkirk Community Action Plan.

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a private-public partnership where local businesses are invited to work together and invest collectively in improvements they see necessary to improve the local business environment.

The Selkirk Chamber of Trade and Commerce leads the local BIDs at the town centre and Ettrick Riverside Business Park. A steering group has been established of local business leaders who wish to see Selkirk grow and prosper again with representation from Stark Main & Co Ltd, Tentel Ltd, Bright Light Marketing, Reiver Recruitment, Viv Ross Accountants, The County Hotel and The Selkirk Regeneration Company.

The team is working with Scottish Borders Council to deliver this project on behalf of all of the Selkirk community.

By working together businesses can reduce costs, share risks and create new platforms for growth. Through consultation with all businesses within the BID area, a comprehensive business plan will be developed with clearly defined schemes to be delivered through the BID period.

The business plan will be put forward for a ballot amongst all businesses within the BID area. Each scheme and project will be costed and paid for through a levy by the businesses.

Newly appointed Selkirk BID Project Manager David Thomas said: “Earlier this year The Federation of Small Businesses issued a warning that 98 Scottish town centres are under threat due to local services and shops shutting down. Selkirk is on that list. If we do nothing to change things locally, this decline will continue”

There are currently 27 BIDs operating across Scotland with more in the pipeline. BID projects are delivering a wide range of local improvements including: town marketing campaigns, events, establishment of facilities and services that supports employment, staff retention, business growth and development, low carbon initiatives, improved transportation and much more. BIDs projects can deliver increased prosperity and improved community cohesion,

Ian Main, director at Stark Main & Co Ltd said, said: “The BID project is one which I am enthused about. It strikes me as a wonderful opportunity to gain a united local business voice and to assess if our collective ideas can be channeled for the greater good. I look forward to finding out what businesses in the town feel would be priority issues which could be tackled together.”

Will Haegeland, chair of Selkirk Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “We need to make Selkirk a place people and businesses wants to come to, move to, stay in, work in and prosper in. BID can help achieve that.

“We are now in a consultation process where we are planning to meet all of the businesses in the BID area to get ideas and feedback on what will improve their commercial viability.

“An open meeting to explain BID is scheduled for January 8 at The County Hotel. Invitations will be going out in the next few weeks and I encourage all local businesses in the town and Ettrick Riverside to take part and support these events.”

He added: “The process between now and early next year will be to identify the priorities for Selkirk to develop a business plan and a fully costed budget. This will be put to a ballot of all businesses in the BID area in the autumn of next year. We will need a ‘yes’ vote from the businesses to deliver initiatives that will make Selkirk a more sustainable and vibrant place in which to do business.”

z If you are a local business and interested in taking part in bringing the town forward again contact David Thomas on or 07519 312 157.