• Global Impact Award 2022 winner Courtney Davies, second right, at the award presentation ceremony in Wellington.

High Impact Innovation

Gaining global recognition and reward for her work has Courtney Davies smiling. The 2019 AIMES Supreme Award and Innovation Award winner is rapt to be the recent recipient of The Global Impact Award 2022.

Presented at a glittering ceremony in Wellington, as a culmination event to a three-day ‘Festival for the Future’, the overall global award at the Impact event honours Courtney’s work in young, innovative leadership. This includes her development of an online learning programme to over 5,000 young African agri-tech entrepreneurs across 15 countries, as well as the work she is doing here in Aotearoa New Zealand with young leaders through the BLAKE Inspire project.

The former Long Bay College student was a finalist in last year’s Impact Awards and was stoked to go one step further to take home to overall prize, including a $5,000 grant.

“That was very cool,” Courtney smiles. “I made it into the top five last year, so to get the top spot this time was very nice!”

She was also a semi-finalist in the Impact Award for Climate category. Fellow AIMES alumni Tayla Alexander also featured at the awards, as a semi-finalist in the Global category for her work as founder of the Tayla Made Foundation that provides financial, emotional and mentorship support for young musicians.

Courtney leads environmental leadership programmes for young people in Years 11 – 13 through her role with BLAKE Inspire. Each year, she steers 100 young people through the programme designed to bring young people across the country together to develop effective leaders in the environmental space. “I’m involved in the programme design, leading the programme, supporting the participants through it and also helping them take what they’ve learned back into their communities to put into practice what they’ve learned by creating and delivering action plans.”

Creating a means by which to support thousands of young African entrepreneurs came about after a chance conversation with a friend from Nigeria. The pair put their plan into place over lockdown in 2020.

“We worked together on creating an online bootcamp for young African entrepreneurs to support their learning and experience across agriculture, business, sustainability, implementing the UN SDG's and general mentoring. This has been an exciting project to work on and we have reached over 5,000 young people across 15 countries.”

Courtney is also pursuing an MBA at Massey University in Albany, the institution that incidentally sponsored the AIMES Award she won back in 2019. She decided to repay the favour by choosing the local university for her extended studies.

The 26-year-old recently hosted the North Harbour Club-led Innovation Summit in the B:HIVE at Smales Farm. Though she admits to finding public speaking a little daunting, she says she is enjoying growing in confidence as she takes on more public speaking challenges.

Courtney has spoken at the Global Women GenZ Insights and the Women In Leadership Next Generation conference and is part of the APEC Voices of the Future committee. It is through friends she has made through APEC worldwide that she is planning her first overseas travel for over three years, at the end of the year.

She counts tenacity and determination as the key attributes needed by would-be AIMES Awards winners and is a great advocate for the ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try again’ school of thought, through lived experience.

“I think it took me five tries before I was eventually successful with my application! So, never give up! You never lose anything by trying, you have so much to potentially gain, so I’d encourage young people to just do it - apply!”