Single Publication - less than 5 pages

Burlington Economic Development’s refreshed Annual Report

Submitted ByBurlington Economic Development

The Burlington Economic Development’s 2021 Annual Report tells a creative story about Burlington and the work Burlington EcDev does to support the location, start-up and growth of business in our city.  

The 2021 Annual Report summarizes and promotes the strategic decisions Burlington Economic Development made to support businesses through our innovative programs and collaborations while maintaining the same 2 overarching goals:  

  1. Help businesses start-up and grow in Burlington 
  1. Provide start-up and business support  

Visualizing Burlington Economic Development’s strategic decisions, the report showcases our accomplishments in the 2021 calendar year. Noteworthy initiatives include the second year of leading the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN), the expansion of Brock University into Burlington, support for local main street businesses during the COVID 19 pandemic, and our work in supporting the noteworthy growth of Burlington employers. The TechPlace impact report was also distributed inside the annual report. TechPlace is one of our most well-known and successful initiatives. 2021 represented the fifth anniversary of the space, so we gave it its own publication to highlight the economic impact of the space on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Burlington during its first five years of operation. 

Functioning as a comprehensive marketing tool, the report targets an extensive audience, including Burlington residents, businesses, community stakeholders, and prospective businesses.  

For the 2021 Annual Report, we knew we didn’t want to do a standard 8.5×11 report but rather something modern and fresh. We wanted people to be able to read the full report within 3-5 minutes, fit it in their pocket, and present information that was to the point and focused. we had to work with the printers at the design stage to find a way to make it unique while staying within budget. Another challenge was making sure we covered everything in the limited space. We take on a lot at Burlington Economic Development, but we chose to highlight the projects and achievements with the most impact and benefit to our audience. Another barrier we faced is that larger data sets from the Provincial and federal government often don’t present Burlington-only data. We are often lumped in with the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or with Hamilton. We are strategic and data-driven, so we are constantly sourcing new methodologies and sources of rich and credible data to tell Burlington’s economic story. 

 The innovative and compact design resulted in drastically less paper being used, and we avoided the use of plastic coiling and covers that are often used in traditional reports. The report is also printed on Forest Stewardship Council certified paper with 30% recycled content. 

 The report is a testament to the potential of economic development agencies to capture their audiences. It meets the demand for quick information dissemination while retaining the depth stakeholders expect. It also exemplifies the benefits of maintaining strong brand identity and consistent use of elements such as color, shapes, infographics, and language—a model for other agencies. 

 Simply put, our annual report stands out and is unlike any other annual report we’ve seen. We produced an annual report that doesn’t sit on a shelf but gets actively distributed throughout the year and shared time and again. Our annual report doubles as a marketing tool and offers storytelling that positions Burlington as a wonderful place to start and grow a business.