Hamilton Fast 40

Promotional - Items | City of Hamilton

Purpose of Project
Over the past several years, Hamilton’s economy has been growing exponentially and this is directly attributable to an innovative and productive business community.  As such, the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Office is constantly looking to promote not only these great businesses but generate more investment interest in Hamilton.  One of the tactics in this regard is to have more Hamilton companies on the Canadian Business Magazine’s Growth 500 list.  Over the years, there has a lack of Hamilton companies represented on this list, so it is now one of the “Stretch Targets” of the award winning Hamilton Economic Development Action Plan to get 10 Hamilton companies on the Growth 500- the highest ever achieved was 4.

The strategy was to create a local program of similar nature to the Growth 500, the “Hamilton Fast 40” and advance/concierge eligible companies through that program into applying for the Growth 500.  The Hamilton Fast 40 program encouraged Hamilton companies to apply for a smaller, Hamilton specific program that had similar evaluation metrics as the Growth 500, and would leverage Hamilton Economic Development and large local partners to promote and celebrate fast growing companies locally.

In addition to that, the Hamilton Fast 40 applicant list would provide a targeted and qualified pool of potential companies that are interested in company growth related promotion that could be encouraged to apply for national recognition.  Having an understanding of the strength of each application, Hamilton Economic Development Office could provide a customized report projecting their potential rank based on predictive analytics, increasing the incentive for local companies who had minimal existing knowledge of the Growth 500.

Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives
Aiming for 45 companies to apply, the first annual Hamilton Fast 40 saw over 60 businesses apply for the chance to be named on the list, with 20 of them appearing to meet the qualifications to be competitive in the Canadian Business challenge. Since the conclusion of the Fast 40, 12 companies confirmed they would be applying for the national honours, 11 of them indicating that they were unaware of the national Growth 500 program prior to being made aware of it through their interactions with Hamilton Economic Development staff relating to the Hamilton Fast 40 program.  In addition, we had over 440K impressions with a 23% click through rate on thespec.com (May 4-17)- nearly 4x industry standards.

Challenges & Changes Made
The challenge was to attract interest in this new program on a limited budget, so we needed to strategically use advertising dollars and rely on earned media and social media to generate interest.  This included advertisements in the Hamilton Spectator, Bay Observer, and Facebook advertising in additional to posts on social media and social/web sharing from industry partners like the Hamilton/Stoney Creek/Flamborough Chambers of Commerce and Innovation Factory (Regional Innovation Centre).

Target Audience (demographics
Targeting presidents/CEOs of Hamilton companies who would have the authority to apply.

Any specifics as detailed in the particular Awards Categories
This program has been instrumental in generating a new list of companies to promote and celebrate Hamilton and has great potential to blossom into an annual event that is the talk of the business community.

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