Town Toolkit | Business associations
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Business associations

A business association or traders’ group can simply be a loose informal collaboration of willing businesses who want to deal with issues, promote their town or develop a brand or marketing campaign; or it can be a fully constituted organisation with office bearers and a bank account.

Advantages of a business association:

  • Simple structure and easy to establish.
  • Brings interested parties together.
  • Can go beyond businesses to include community groups.
  • Creates a collective investment and effort.
  • More effective lobby and communication mechanism.
  • Suitable for smaller towns.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Reliant on volunteering and voluntary membership and contributions.
  • If not a constituted organisation, it makes it difficult to secure external funding.
  • Doesn’t automatically bring in additional funding like improvement districts.
  • Requires strong leadership.

Traders' groups and business associations are a good way to bring interested parties together in a more informal way, particularly in smaller towns where a full blown improvement district might not be viable or desirable. However, sometime the informal business association approach can be developed as a precursor to a BID or other constituted organisation.

Celebrate Kilmarnock

Celebrate Kilmarnock was established to create a movement for change - positively influencing people's perception of Kilmarnock and working towards a culture everyone can be proud of. Together it forms Kilmarnock’s town centre partnership, with strong representation from civil society, the council, businesses, churches and charitable groups. The partnership has developed a strong track record in wider community engagement and capacity building, including:

  • Regular conferences and stakeholder meetings.
  • K-TALKS conversation events and masterclasses.
  • Social media campaigns like #KeepItInKillie.
  • Funding support for projects.
  • Events like Killieween Spooky Walk, K-Fest music events and Busk Stop talent shows.

Future plans include continuing to work with businesses on a common agenda for enhancing the town centre, a community-led regeneration strategy, and more events and activities.

For more information about Celebrate Kilmarnock, contact them direct by phone 01563 508000 or email

Prestwick Business Association

This long established association of local independent businesses undertakes a range of activities like "Lighting Up" and "Prestfest", working with outside organisations and funding bodies to make Prestwick a better place to live and work. They also have a Facebook page to connect with local communities on events, activities and promotions.

Sometimes the simple no-frills approach of an unconstituted group is the most appropriate!

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