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Wycombe BIDCo unveils plans for 2013
4:30pm Sunday 20th January 2013 in News
A COMPANY set up to boost business in High Wycombe town centre has unveiled some of its new projects and is urging firms to get involved.
The Wycombe Business Improvement District Company (HWBIDCo) has published a long list of projects it plans to deliver this year.
These range from town ‘housekeeping’ and securing new investments to addressing empty commercial properties and providing business support.
First off is a cost saving event at Metro Bank at 5.30pm on Wednesday – with one of the BIDCo’s main commitments for 2013 to reduce its member’s overheads to ensure the BIDCo is as cost-neutral as possible.
It will be followed by further events - The Future of Our Town and a Commercial Space Summit - in the coming weeks.
HWBIDCo’s Chief Executive Oliver O’Dell said: “I know we charge money, that’s legislation.
“But if we can save businesses money that offsets that levy cost, not only might they end up saving more than we’re charging them but then everything else we do is a bonus at no cost to the businesses.
“We need to be seen to be addressing business support as a priority. We can look at general things in town like hanging baskets, planting etc and it all adds to the fact people might come here or stay longer but actually it’s those direct business benefits.”
HWBIDCo was ratified last year after the majority of businesses in the town centre voted in favour of its creation.
All activities of the BID are overseen by its board - which is made up of, and elected by town centre firms - or through working parties that have a broader membership.
These include Shop Watch, Pub Watch, a Late Night Group for security and a new communications group overseeing all PR activities.
There are also two new project specific groups, the first is investigating opportunities for town-wide loyalty schemes and the other managing a major initiative to create an enterprise incubator space in the town.
But Mr O’Dell is urging businesses to embrace and engage with the BID over its first five year term to ensure they get the benefits out of it.
He said: “It’s important to prove we’re doing lots of stuff. For us as a BID, we can prove we’re doing lots of things we think is right, which other BIDs are doing and from what those that get involved have told us.
“Those that don’t engage will only get the general benefits – the bread and butter day-to-day stuff. We can prove we’re doing a hell of a lot, whether that’s right for every business is down to them to let us know.
“It’s not about being a particular business in a particular sector, it’s about ‘you’re a business in the town centre, here’s your opportunity to get involved, have a say and influence stuff – it’s more focused.”
Specialist consultancy firm Meercat Associates, Cartridge World, an NNDR evaluator, a specialist insurance company, energy efficiency advisor and a Metro Bank director will be at Wednesday’s event.
Mr O’Dell added: “Metro Bank work at corporate level with the people we’ve engaged to do the cost saving, so if the bigger boys are doing it there’s got to be an equal benefit for the smaller businesses.
“For the board, we need to demonstrate these events are worth doing – if we don’t get enough people there the board won’t authorise time and resources to do similar events in the future.
“Use it or lose it – that accountability and engagement process is there and being offered.”
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