Kirklees District Council work with RCP21 to successfully transfer the Business Collaboration Network (BCN) model to businesses located on Bretton Street Industrial Area and Shaw Cross Business Park in Dewsbury West Yorkshire.
Kirklees Council has been actively working with RCP21 to set up Business Collaboration Networks in Kirklees since July 2011. A Business Collaboration Network is a business engagement model that has been developed by RCP21 and successfully transferred to business and industrial parks across the region in partnership with Local Authorities.
Background, Bretton Street Industrial Area
The initial pilot BCN project was introduced to companies located on Bretton Street Industrial Area, Dewsbury. This area was targeted because it is home to 75 businesses of which a significant number are medium sized and growing companies. In addition the Council has an existing presence in the area in the form of Bretton Street Enterprise Centre which supports business start-ups.
Work on the pilot started with a detailed mapping of the park to identify all the 75 businesses located there and their business activities. Following this exercise, meetings were arranged with senior personnel within all the target businesses e.g. Managing Directors and Senior Managers, to establish what issues they felt were affecting the park or responsible for impacting negatively on their business growth. Businesses were also encouraged to identify potential opportunities for collaborative activities and sharing of resources that could save time and reduce costs.
The meeting soon established some common issues which needed to be addressed around security, environmental problems, highways, anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.
Achievements and outcomes to date of the Bretton Street BCN
Production of a map of the industrial area and associated business directory - these resources provide the following information e.g. map location, business name, postal address, telephone number and business activity and helps businesses identify relevant services and inter-trading opportunities from their business neighbours.
On more than one occasion security was identified by companies as a major concern. In order to address this issue businesses proposed and led the establishment of a 'Business Watch' for the area.
In partnership with the council, police and RCP21 the companies have designed and produced over 30 new 'Business Watch' signs. The signs will be erected at key entrance and exit areas within Bretton Street. Highlighting the joint approach now being used by all partners to protect businesses and their neighbours to deter, detect and reduce crime.
Other achievements are:-
- The sharing of resources both physical and intellectual through businesses circulating details of items they "Would Like" or "Can Offer" to collaborate on such as joint training, bulk buying fuel or sharing plant equipment.
- Kirklees Council Business Support Directory - This directory provides information of the 'Universal Business Support Offer' from Kirklees Council to businesses as part of their commercial rates contributions.·
The success at Bretton Street has resulted in businesses from the neighbouring Shaw Cross Business Park, home to 37 businesses, most of whom trade nationally and internationally, requesting support from the Council and RCP21 to set up a similar initiative there. The first meeting of these businesses resulted in one company identifying three businesses on the park that he was previously unaware of that he could purchase items from. The businesses present also agreed to share email addresses in partnership with the council and police in order to send and receive email alerts on crime and suspicious activity on the park.
Ramesh Bains Senior Business Development Officer, Kirklees Council commented:
"It is clear from my experience that the outcomes and successes mentioned above could not have been delivered in such short timescales without the considerable help and support from my colleagues at RCP21. Their help is much appreciated now and I'm sure will be needed as we look to extend the BCN model further in the future."