IBIZ District Program Requirements

If you think you'd like to form an IBIZ District, read on for all the details you need to know if you qualify, and how to proceed!

 

What are IBIZ (Independent Business Investment Zone) Districts?

IBIZ Districts are concentrated clusters of locally-owned businesses which share a common identity, common interests and needs, and a common customer base. They are preferably walkable, with a variety of shopping/dining/entertainment/service options available, making them attractive destinations for locals and visitors alike.

IBIZ Districts are self-selected, in that merchants in an area must request designation as an IBIZ District, determine that the selected area meets the program criteria, and obtain significant buy-in from the merchants in the proposed district.

In general, IBIZ Districts must meet the following criteria:

  • One mile or less in a contiguous, walkable cluster
  • Include from 20-100 businesses, of which 75% or more are locallyowned.
  • Have a common identity or character that unites them as a district
  • Have significant buy-in and interest from merchants in the area
  • Be likely to benefit from the services provided by the program

These criteria may be modified on a case-by-case basis, and new districts are formed only as capacity is available to adequately provide services.

The IBIZ program is based on a model of commercial corridor revitalization efforts throughout the country, including elements of the Main Street model. It is intended to be a long-term partnership with area merchants, and to grow with the districts as they themselves grow and change. The IBIZ program provides professional leadership to assist with local capacity building, coordination of efforts, branding and marketing, communication between the merchants, and assistance with problem-solving. The IBIZ District program relies heavily on volunteer support and participation from the District Merchants.

Location of Current IBIZ Districts

The program currently supports 8 IBIZ Districts, representing more than 600 locally-owned businesses:

Airport Boulevard IBIZ District (Airport Blvd. from I-35 to 2222)
East Cesar Chavez IBIZ District (East Cesar Chavez from I-35 to 183)
East End IBIZ District (East 11th Street from Branch to Angelina)
East Sixth IBIZ District (East Sixth from IH 35 to Comal)
Lo-Burn IBIZ District (Burnet road from 44th to North Loop)
North Drag IBIZ District (Guadalupe from 29th to 32nd)
North Loop IBIZ District (North Loop from Avenue H to Chesterfield)
South First IBIZ District (South First from just south of the river to Oltorf)

What IS an IBIZ District?

IBIZ Districts are

IBIZ Districts are concentrated clusters of locally-owned businesses which share a common identity, common interests and needs, and a common customer base. They are preferably walkable, with a variety of shopping/dining/entertainment/service options available, making them attractive destinations for locals and visitors alike.

What are the qualifications for an IBIZ District?

 

In general, new IBIZ Districts must meet the following criteria:

  • One mile or less in a contiguous, walkable cluster
  • Include from 20-100 businesses, of which 75% or more are locallyowned.
  • Have a common identity or character that unites them as a district
  • Have significant buy-in and interest from merchants in the area
  • Be likely to benefit from the services provided by the program

These criteria may be modified on a case-by-case basis, and new districts are formed only as capacity is available to adequately provide services.

How are IBIZ Districts Chosen?

IBIZ Districts are self-selected, in that merchants in an area must:

  1. Request designation as an IBIZ District;
  2. Collect contact information for the merchants in the proposed District region;
  3. Demonstrate that the selected area meets the program criteria, and that 75% of the merchants in the region are locally-owned;
  4. Demonstrate significant buy-in from the merchants in the proposed district, along with a commitment to participate and enthusiasm for the benefits of becoming an IBIZ District;

At any time during the process we can come out and meet with area merchants to discuss the program, and help determine whether it’s a good fit, and suggest next steps for the area, regardless of whether they pursue IBIZ designation.

After submission of all required materials, if a district meets the qualifications and seems to be a good candidate for the program, we will determine whether we have sufficient capacity to provide quality services. We are a small team with very limited funding, so we have to make some hard choices to ensure that we get the maximum benefit for our time, effort, and funding.

One way to overcome the limited capacity issue is to come to the program as a Premiere District. More information on that program here, but if 75% of the merchants elect to become Premiere merchants (for as low as approx. 15/month), that would qualify the district for Premiere designation, which would give a portion of the dues BACK to the District to use as they choose. This program is an effort to provide additional resources and ensure continuity of services in a position of uncertain funding.

How long does it take?

It really depends on how long it takes you to collect the needed info and gather up support for the idea. But if everything clicks quickly, the process can happen very quickly.

What does it cost?

There is no financial cost to merchants for being located within in an IBIZ District. If a majority of merchants in your district move forward, and are accepted, you are automatically an IBIZ Merchant, and are entitled to full benefits.

If you want a higher level of service, and to contribute toward the good of your district as a whole, then you should consider our Premiere program, which provides a stunning number of benefits at remarkable low cost. Given the high demand for new districts, we may at some point need to consider limiting new districts to those that come in right away at a premiere level (meaning 75% of locally owned businesses in the area have joined the program, at which time a portion of all dues goes into an account of your benefit, and you may spend it as you choose (as well as myriad additional benefits for premiere merchants and districts).

More info on Premiere level membership here:

What happens after we become an IBIZ?

This is the exciting part, when we determine district boundaries, and work together to find the personality of the district, the essence of what makes it unique. We could work on picking a name, borders, tag lines, graphics, events, and more. This is a fun, creative time, and maximum involvement from as many merchants as possible really helps this process go smoothly, while arriving at a result that best matches the personality of the district.

After we have a name and art, we can add you to printed materials, as wells as the web and social media. All merchants will be added to the communications/resources sharing group to allow intra-district communication, and share announcements. You will also receive newsletters and information from us, on everything from upcoming regulations to be aware of to road closures and opportunities for grants. We will set up regular district meetings, and I will come around to bring you all the materials and goodies you get for being an IBIZ merchant!

Can you come meet with us to tell us more about it?

Absolutely! Just fill out a contact request form with all the info you have, and we can set something up! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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