Over the past several years, BIAs (Business Improvement Areas) across North America have grown in numbers, size, and impact. The Heart of Orléans BIA is a perfect example of this with its growing membership, its growing staff and diverse board, and how it’s bringing positive impact to the community.
BIAs are regulated under the Municipal Act in Ontario and the funds are raised through a levy on the commercial and industrial properties within the BIA boundary. By working together, businesses have the resources (funds and people) to build their capacity and enhance the quality of life in their neighbourhoods.
One of the members within the BIA’s current boundaries is Todd Muise of The Bookkeeping Bureau. He states, “I think one of the most important membership benefits for us is the ability to make meaningful connections that we weren’t anticipating and that helped propel our business.”
Todd says that they have met new business owners at networking events and provided mentoring to them, helping to build the local business community’s capacity. The BIA is also a conduit to local elected officials and that is helpful in communications regarding infrastructure and improvements in the district and to stay current with what is happening at a municipal, provincial and federal level.
“The BIA has matured over the past decade and we’re seeing new levels of service and professionals on the board and on staff. My hope, as a board member and business owner, is that we’ll increasingly (exponentially?) grow our number of engaged members over the next few years,” Todd adds.
Marc Plante of Stray Dog Brewing Company is an associate member whose business falls just outside the official boundaries of the district. But he and his business partners believe in the importance and benefits of membership.
“When any group bands together, their unified voice is stronger,” says Marc. “And, as the community has grown, the BIA has had an ever-stronger presence.”
Marc adds, “The Beat magazine and the Heartbeat newsletter provide information about funding and grant opportunities which is very helpful to small businesses.
Like Todd, Marc sees the benefits of membership coupled with a unified voice and advocates for a BIA expansion that engages and supports even more of Orléans small businesses.
The potential for growth in the Heart of Orléans BIA is exciting to both of these businesspeople and to many others in the district.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of membership, feel free to reach out to the BIA office by email at [email protected] or phone at 613-899-8442 or come to one of the many regularly-held events.