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.
- 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 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 email@example.com.
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!