Case Study -Wellington City Council

Tawa Business Improvement District

About: The Tawa Business Group was intent on forming a Business Improvement District in consultation and collaboration with the Wellington City Council (WCC). Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are a great way for local businesses to pool funds for projects and improvements that complement existing Council services.

The Wellington City Council supports BIDs because they are good for the city and economy. WCC can provide advice and also have funding available to help establish them. To get one off the ground, Tawa needed to have sufficient buy-in from local businesses and business property owners, agree on a plan to make Tawa more successful, set up a well-coordinated business group and be prepared to put in real effort and additional funding to co-ordinate these various activities.

Once a BID is approved, the Council collects a targeted rate from all commercial property owners in the area. The amount collected is then provided to the business association that has been setup to work on the area’s behalf, to fund agreed objectives.

What we were asked to do:

  1. Proactively engage with local business owners and business property owners within the Tawa BID boundary. The intention was to promote the BID activity as a positive and proactive approach that would benefit Tawa Business and promote Tawa as a destination.

  2. As a result of this engagement we were to build a database of the business and property owners that the WCC would then use to formally engage at a voting level for the acceptance of Tawa BID. If successful, the new business entity would have a formally elected executive at a local Special General Meeting. The BID entity would receive targeted rate funding to promote Tawa as a destination.

  3. Attend local business meetings, workshops and distribute promotional material.

To complete this activity, we were asked to work collaboratively with:

  1. The Tawa BID team, co-chaired by local businessman Ant Simon and Bruce White.

  2. WCC partner Business Lab (Founder Colin Bass) who were taking a primary lead on the project; and

  3. WCC led by Phil Becker

Outcome: The percentage of acceptance from the businesses and business property owners was overwhelming in favour with 70% of responding votes being in favour of the BID formation.

Comment from Wellington City Council: Establishing a BID relies on a core group of people working collaboratively. It also relies on a high level of energy that can be sustained over the setup period, building trust in the process, and integrity in the results of both the engagement and the poll amongst the stakeholders. Tony Henderson-Newport and Kea Inspire was an integral part of the team that delivered on both, at times in the face of opposition, but always with a positive outlook. The Council was able to rely on Tony for his individual effort, and to be part of the team that delivered a great result. Phil Becker, BID Lead, Wellington City Council

Wellington City Council represents a population of 207,900 (as of 2016) and consists of a mayor and fourteen councillors elected from five wards (Northern, Onslow-Western, Lambton, Eastern, Southern). It administers public works,sanitation, land use and building consents, among other local services. The council has used the marketing slogan "Absolutely Positively Wellington" in an official capacity since the early 1990s.

Comment from Business Lab: One of the hardest roles in establishing a BID is to be on the ground promoting the value of the BID and developing the all-important register of voters which requires the contact details of every business and property owner with an agreed boundary.Tony Henderson-Newport and Kea Inspire were great to work with and persisted to complete this challenging part of the project, a deadline that was somewhat critical. Cheers Tony. Colin Bass,Founder, Business Lab

Business Lab offers a suite of tailored collaborative planning services to suit different organisations and groups.

Comment from Tawa Business BID: My role in the BID was that of chair of the BID steering group. Being chair of a committee was a new experience for me and I found Tony’s guidance invaluable.The group worked at a highly strategic level and the end goal of establishing a BID was achieved with a 70% vote in favour. Tony’s role in this was pivotal. Ant Simon, Chair, Tawa BID Group

Tawa Business is the current entity which is driving the establishment of the Tawa Business Improvement District.