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First For Business

Added on: 10th June, 2019 by O1

First For Business

Last Updated:
Mon, 24 June 2019

To improve our members' profitability. Here's some of the work the BID carried out during 2018/19.

The Board of Directors of Orpington 1st is committed to ensuring that our business engagement and communication is robust.

We want to ensure that all business requirements and requests are considered and that we can support businesses by working with those who are most experienced in delivery.

In addition to our open forum meetings we are delighted to have introduced a dedicated business surgery with Jo Johnson MP.

In June we held our second Summer Solstice Social at Hisar’s Al Fresco Lounge which was an opportunity for businesses to catch up with town centre news via the BID team and network in an informal setting.

Again, to that end we also held our fourth annual Golf Day.

In November Orpington 1st were excited to partner Google in bringing the Google Digital Bus Tour to Orpington, providing levy payers with the opportunity to learn how to harness the power of the internet to grow their business and Social Media Strategy.

We send regular e-newsletters containing updates on BID activity, as well as signposting relevant news from central and local government, and from City Hall.

We encourage all levy payers to visit the website for updates.

As part of the work to support local enterprise and provide appropriate trading platforms we opened our second Pop Up shop.

It provided space for local makers supporting seven different businesses and activated an unused retail premises.

In November, following persistent lobbying from Business Improvement Districts across the country, including Orpington 1st, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced that a “Retail Rates Relief” would cut Business Rates by a third for eligible businesses from 1st April 2019 - 31st March 2021.

Although welcome, the rates reduction offers short term relief to businesses, and not to all businesses, and Orpington 1st, in partnership with BID colleagues across the country, will continue to push for wholesale reform of what we believe is an unfair and antiquated tax.

It is important that in these challenging times for high streets we continue to develop relationships with relevant partners.

We have been working directly with City Hall and in March, we hosted a visit by the Deputy Mayor of London for Business & Enterprise, Rajesh Agrawal.

Along with a walk around town and visits to several businesses, a round-table discussion with senior representatives provided local businesses with the opportunity to voice their views on a variety of topics ranging from Business Rates to Brexit...

...including the need for start-up space for entrepreneurs, the transformation of high streets, the importance of the tech industry and the support available through the Growth Hub.

Rajesh showed great interest in the projects which the BID delivers and was complimentary about the breadth of business in town and the partnerships and engagement that the BID has developed.

In March we hosted our annual awards Orpington’s Finest at ODEON Orpington. It continues to grow each year with more businesses entering and new categories introduced.

This year was the most successful in terms of the number and quality of applications.

It attracted almost 200 people from 45 organisations to the event, with senior representatives from the council and emergency services, as well as our sponsors, presenting the awards.

Our joint procurement programme, which is offered via Meercat Associates, continues to identify cost savings for our levy payers. This project continues to offer real value to our members and we would encourage everyone to take full advantage of the free service.

Though our partnership with CD Waste many businesses continue to save in excess of their BID levy every year.

The BID team continues to represent the Orpington business community at various events such as the signing of the Historic Friendship Agreement between Thunder Bay, Canada and the London Borough of Bromley, which celebrates over 100 years of friendship shared history and remembrance.

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