Fin Dev Canada

Export Development Canada

Financing for Developing Markets

A mobile-first website for a new international development initiative from Export Development Canada

FinDev Canada

We created a Drupal 8 website for FinDev Canada, a new financial development initiative from Export Development Canada. The client needed dynamic landing pages with modular components like calls to action, accordions, images, and structured content. The result is a visually rich website that can be customized by content editors to communicate key messaging and information from the EDC. The website is mobile-first and includes responsive images and accessible HTML.


When Export Development Canada was looking for a way to provide easier access to capital for entrepreneurs in developing markets, they came up with “FinDev Canada”, a new entity that lends money to developing markets in order to empower women, build capacity for entrepreneurship and community, and support environmental efforts. It fills that gap between commercial lending for large enterprises, and development assistance via non-profits. It lends like a bank, but in smaller amounts to individuals and small business, so the impact is at the grass-roots level.

In its infancy, FinDev Canada needed help with their branding, and striking the right balance between their identity as a governmental organization, and an innovative financial player. They reached out to our friends at Cossette to develop this overall brand strategy and create an identity for their digital and non-digital communications.

Cossette brought us in to build out the digital presence for FinDev. With the organization still in the definition phase, we were part of the process of how the brand translated to the digital context.


Initially conceived as a simple one-page website, the FinDev Canada project grew into a multi-page site. The goal was to launch quickly, while sticking to government requirements (accessibility and bilingualism). With the new brand still in the approval phase, we worked with FinDev and our partners at Cossette to implement a site with really flexible components. We used a styleguide-driven process to make sure that all the components looked consistent, and that they work together as a whole.

We had 6 weeks to turn the concept into a reality. The project goals were:

  • Build a brand-new Drupal 8 site

  • Create dynamic landing with flexible layouts and visual elements

  • Incorporate rich features to display webforms, slideshows, and accordions

  • Implement social media functionality for sharing (including OpenGraph)

  • Fully bilingual (English/French) content and user interface, with the capacity to add additional languages in the future

  • Create a mobile-first, responsive solution with images optimized for mobile

  • Follow search engine optimization (SEO) best practices that incorporate meta tags

  • Conform to WCAG AA accessibility standards


  • A new Drupal 8 website to coincide with the launch of the new FinDev brand and organization

  • Custom theme that matches the organization’s design and corporate branding

  • A living style guide

  • Slideshows, news feeds, search UI, and animated, mobile-friendly navigation

  • Flexible landing pages that are component-based and can be easily created and customized by content editors

  • Landing page components with flexible appearance, to accommodate changes to the website’s visuals and marketing messages

  • An administrative interface that’s optimized for content editors

  • Fully bilingual (English/French) content and navigation

  • Created an optimized, responsive layout that works with all types of devices (computer, tablet, mobile)

  • Deployment to Acquia Cloud, allowing for quick deployment and launch


The FinDev Canada website has provided a platform for the organization to launch their brand. An energetic, confident site, it inspires site visitors and potential clients. While FinDev is a financial institution, backed by Export Development Canada, the website shows the innovative and edgy side of the organization.

By using this first iteration of the website as a starting point and creating the capability where it can be built out, FinDev's goal of helping small businesses in developing countries to make a difference in the world is closer to reality. As their target audience is further refined and as site traffic is monitored, site editors have powerful tools that let them integrate new content and brand elements as needed.

Content editors do not need specialized training to make changes to the site. The component-based design gives them the ability to easily change the layouts, messaging and visual elements to suit current and upcoming initiatives.

As part of this project, we updated Sidr Responsive Menus, an open source Drupal module that we maintain, to make it more accessible.

The project inspired Evolving Web to write documentation about how we made this website accessible. And we presented this at Drupal conferences and shared our knowledge with the larger community.

Why Drupal?

  • Export Development Canada wanted to use Drupal because of its reputation in the Government of Canada

  • It's a flexible, robust CMS that handles languages well and will adapt to the future needs of the organization

  • Although this project started as an online brand brochure, the content management system needs to be able to be built out into a larger functioning website

  • An open source solution is inexpensive in comparison to a licensed CMS