The BIDs Scotland Gathering took place on 3 March 2015 and saw over 200 industry leaders from across, business, tourism, towns, communities and national and local government come together to celebrate the growing movement of Business Improvement Districts in Scotland and around the world.
A variety of delegates braved the snowy morning to arrive at the Perth Concert Hall, many contributing to our diverse exhibition showcasing business services, the third sector, towns support bodies and Business Improvement District groups.
The programme kicked off with Alex Neil MSP highlighting the growing success of Business Improvement Districts. He said:
"Over the past seven years, BIDs have played a significant role in the regeneration of many parts of Scotland, supporting economic growth and strengthening communities. Central to its success is strong leadership and partnership between local authority, business and community interests.
Having witnessed the success of BIDs, I encourage leaders here to consider how they can benefit from BIDs."
Keith Aitken, the Chair for the day, helped to set the scene by outlining how BIDs were thriving across lots of different communities in Scotland.
Director of Business Improvement Districts Scotland, Ian Davison Porter, outlined the growing success of BIDs in Scotland. He noted that Scotland had just gained its 29th and 30th BID just days before - Glasgow Byres Road and Dunblane.
Denzil Skinner from Essential Edinburgh outlined how BIDs can deliver greener cities - and the great work that Essential Edinburgh has been doing for the area around Rose Street and George Street.
Next up, Alastair Mitchell from Falkirk delivers spoke about how Falkirk BID has made the town safer and friendlier by working with local businesses and the community.
Next up was Sam Crawford from Enterprising Bathgate. He highlighted the need for BIDs to support businesses in whatever way they can after listening to local business concerns and needs.
Delegates networked over coffee, sharing stories of best practice from around Scotland.
Malcolm Brown, Chair of Queensferry Ambition spoke about the need for BIDs to work with and within their own communities to make sure everyone was thriving together.
Graeme Ambrose from Uniqueness BID then explained how Scotland's first tourism BID had to work with local communities and address local business needs in order to succeed.
Finally, international speaker David Downey, President and CEO of the International Downtown Association spoke about raising ambition for Scotland. He outlined how the BIDs movement has been growing across the US, and that public private partnerships can bring creativity and renewal to cities like Detroit that have suffered heavy population decline.
The Gathering ended on an extremely positive note, with David Downey forecasting a strong and growing network of business improvement districts across the US and the UK.
If you met someone knew, learnt something new or shared an idea we want to hear your feedback, let us know by completing this short survey! You can also view the BIDs Scotland Gathering delegate list.
Source: BIDs Scotland Gathering 2015 on Storify. See link to view multimedia material from the Gathering.