Councils and communities

If you’re looking for authentic engagement that reflects a partnership with communities and special interest groups, we can help.  We specialise in helping groups of diverse people share their wisdom and ideas on things they’re passionate about, and then structure their input into a plan that’s designed to get things done.  Our experience in strategy makes sure the final plan is focused on the right long-term goals with simple steps to move forward in the right direction.

The Business Lab team has been extensively involved in community-wide planning initiatives that empower local communities to create a better future.  We've helped over 35 Business Improvement Districts from Auckland to Blenheim develop strategic plans that work. Projects have included establishing Business Improvement Districts in Miramar and Kilbirnie in Wellington, and Blenheim in Marlborough; as well as work to design and deliver a number of future-focused community planning initiatives in Marlborough: Smart and Connected, Queenstown Lakes: Shaping our Future, and Nelson: Framing our Future. See our Case Studies for more projects and information.

How we can help:

  • Collaborative strategic planning
  • Business Improvement District establishment and expansion
  • Advice and development for council BID policies and strategies
  • Local and regional economic development initiatives
  • Governance advice and support


Wellington City Council values the experience and independence that Business Lab brings to the process of community building. In particular acting as that mediating ‘glue’ between business and property owners, and the Council and stakeholders to enable conversations and direction setting that would otherwise not happen or be muddied by past tensions and different needs.
— Phil Becker, Business Relations Manager, Wellington City Council
The team at Business Lab helped transition our community through a period of uncertainty and change. Their support was evident throughout all stages of their engagement, and by helping us focus on what needed to be achieved, we now have a community plan that captures the shared vision of the Havelock community. It’s a road map to a brighter future for our town and reaffirms the fact that good economic and community development go hand in hand.
— Hans Neilson, Havelock Community Advisor, Havelock Community Association