Enlighten Designs named finalist in New Zealand International Business Awards

The Awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and celebrate the success of New Zealand businesses on the world stage, coupled with excellence and innovative practice. Over the last 50-years, many of New Zealand’s iconic brands have been inducted into the awards hall of fame including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Xero and, more recently, companies such as Timely.

The Awards involve eight award categories (including a Supreme Award chosen by judges) with the winners set to be announced at a ceremony in Auckland on 14 October, Alert Levels permitting.

Enlighten Designs has been recognised for bringing New Zealand innovation to the global stage. More specifically, it has been lauded for its artificial intelligence projects and global work with Microsoft as its provider of data journalism, where Enlighten has powered popular data visualisations used across a number of leading international news media sites.

Founder and CEO of Enlighten, Damon Kelly, says he is immensely proud that the business has been recognised as a finalist after an intensive judging process, and that the accolade comes at a time of real growth.

“As a proud Kiwi company punching well above its weight on the international stage, we’re honoured to be named as finalist in the New Zealand International Business Awards,” he says.

“Instead of reducing our staff numbers when COVID-19 first hit, we doubled down and redeployed our people to focus on our international expansion. We’re now seeing those benefits flow through with our international presence having grown significantly in the last 18 months. For the first time, our overseas services have outstripped our domestic offer, and we’re currently hiring more talent to keep up with this demand.

The accolade is an acknowledgement of the dedication, hard-work and creativity our team has put into some key projects. The fact that our Waikato-based team is creating cutting-edge innovation that’s changing the world is truly remarkable, and so I’m delighted our efforts have been recognised in this way.
Damon Kelly.

New Zealand International Business Awards convenor of judges David Downs says the number of finalists in this year’s Awards is testament to the standards being set by exporters during a uniquely challenging period for businesses.

“Even in normal times becoming a finalist in the New Zealand International Business Awards is no mean feat – entrants have to complete detailed applications, and then present to our judging panels with 20 minutes to explain why their business should be recognised.

“It’s even more impressive to come through that process with flying colours despite all of the challenges of the last two years. We’re genuinely privileged as judges to hear from these remarkable people and businesses.

“We’re seeing a continual evolution and lifting of the bar from our export community, who are leading the way in telling their stories in international markets and deeply connecting with their customers and what matters to them.

“Success in exporting is so much more than the quality of your product or service. It means building strong relationships with customers, investors and partners, having a real grasp of what value you’re delivering, and also the resilience and courage to deliver that value in new ways, as we’ve seen in the last year.

“In 2021 we’ve seen a group of finalists come through that captures these qualities, and also represents the hard work and the contribution that export business make to our economy and the communities we live in.

“New Zealanders should take a lot of pride in in these businesses, and in our export sector in general. Their innovation and ambition will help shape the future of this country.”


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