2021 Award Category Guide

1 July, 2021
2021 Award Category Guide | News | Pause Awards
Ann Nounce profile pic
Ann Nounce
1 July, 2021

We have put together these examples of different themed category sets that you may find motivating for your business to enter.

Sustainability Categories

Extending on social good and sustainability categories is our commitment to award conscious business.

  • Circular Pioneer Award
  • You have Ethics Award
  • Work Sweet Work Award
  • Going Green Award
  • B-Good Award

Growth Categories

This selection of categories you could consider as part of your growth stage.

  • Hammer Award
  • Out of the Garage Award
  • Unexpected Twist Award
  • I Wish I’d Done That Award
  • Big Noise Award
  • Indi Award
  • Baton Award
  • Creative Genius Award
  • Underground Award
  • Exit Planet Award
  • Inside Out Award
  • Defiant Ones Award

Creative Categories

A small selection to reward the best idea to the masses.

  • Big Noise Award
  • Creative Genius Award
  • Inception Award

Emerging Stars Categories

For those who are behind the scenes, starting up and under 30.

  • Do You Know Who I Am Award
  • Underground Award
  • Prodigy Award

Excellence Categories

Top categories that award success.

  • Defiant Ones Award
  • The Hall of Fame Award
  • Inside Out Award
  • Hammer Award
  • I Wish I’d Done That Award

Ecosystem Categories

Great companies create great ecosystems, leaving no one behind.

  • Super Connector Award
  • Do You Know Who I Am Award
  • Indi Award
  • Baton Award
  • Work Sweet Work Award

Milestone Categories

Do you feel you’ve reached a moment for which you should be recognised?

  • Hammer Award
  • Out of the Garage Award
  • Super Connector Award
  • Baton Award
  • Inception Award
  • Inside Out Award
  • Defiant Ones Award
  • Exit Planet Award
  • Circular Pioneer Award
  • Unexpected Twist Award

Culture Categories

Is your company culture worth showing off?

  • Work Sweet Work
  • You have Ethics Award
  • Unexpected Twist Award
  • B-Good Award
  • Inside Out Award

Company Categories

These are a variety of company awards that can suit almost any initiative and stage of your growth.

  • Hammer Award
  • Out of the Garage Award
  • Unexpected Twist Award
  • I Wish I’d Done That Award
  • Big Noise Award
  • B-Good Award
  • Indi Award
  • Underground Award
  • Exit Planet Award
  • Circular Pioneer Award
  • You have Ethics Award
  • Work Sweet Work Award
  • Going Green Award
  • Defiant Ones Award

Individual Categories

Our individual categories help in personal development.

  • The Hall of Fame Award
  • Super Connector Award
  • Prodigy Award
  • Do You Know Who I Am Award
  • Baton Award
  • Creative Genius Award
  • Inception Award
  • Inside Out Award

While our award categories have funky names, Pause Awards, in plain language, honours business achievements through various stages of growth. So here are our ten new categories for this year that we think are super important, and unforgivingly essential.

Creative Genius Award (new)

For smart execution

This award recognises a person that created and implemented smart and sustainable creative or business strategies in the market.

Underground Award (new)

For early-stage mavericks

This award recognises an early-stage startup that has done well in its first two years. Incubator and Accelerator startups are mostly welcome to apply as well as anyone else that is just starting up.

Exit Planet Award (new)

For the best exit

This award celebrates the company’s final frontier, the exit or IPO and the new beginning. These milestones are worth more than just a gong.

Inception Award (new)

For visionary thinkers

This award recognises a person that came up with a transformative idea that can change the world for the better. No implementation is required; this is just an idea challenge!

Inside Out Award (new)

For unlocking hidden potential

This award recognises a person that unlocks innovation potential inside the company to deliver new value and change the world.

Circular Pioneer Award (new)

For making a difference

This award category recognises a company pioneering its circular efforts that demonstrate tangible projects by keeping materials in use for longer.

You have Ethics Award (new)

For the right values in life and business

This award category recognises a company promoting accountability, good governance, leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility and solving societal problems.

Work Sweet Work Award (new)

For a great workplace culture

This award recognises a company that has managed to improve or attain outstanding employee engagement, retention and satisfaction.

Going Green Award (new)

For delivering impact and scale (new)

This award recognises a company actively leading and delivering impact and scale through sustainable efforts in clean energy, climate change, healthy environment, social and economic justice.

Defiant Ones Award (new)

For new tech breakthroughs

This award recognises a company that defines the future of the industry they play in, such as tech breakthroughs that had a significant impact on customers in how they use it and how it improves their lives.

Where most other international awards shows have a plethora of sub-categories, we try to keep it simple at Pause Awards.

Instead of ‘Best of…’, our categories are for specific business achievements.

Hammer Award

For nailing it

This award recognises a company’s success on its own terms in the market. You are simply hammering away your success and leaving everyone behind.

Out of the Garage Award

For scaling globally

This award recognises a company’s global growth, expansion, and success. You can apply if you have taken a product globally or opened an office in another country.

Super Connector Award

For being the community champ

This award recognises a person for their significant contribution to the success of their clients or the community.

Prodigy Award

For being exceptional

This award recognises a young person (under 30) with exceptional qualities or abilities. Think of it as a young achiever.

Unexpected Twist Award

For a great pivot

This award recognises a person or company that has taken an unexpected pivot in their business or career. If you have a great COVID twist, let us know.

I Wish I’d Done That Award

For sheer brilliance

This award recognises a company’s simple and clever idea in a niche market that everyone else wishes they had done instead. 

Do You Know Who I Am Award

For the silent achiever

This award recognises a person that has been responsible for their company’s success behind the scenes.

Big Noise Award 

For media cut through

This award recognises a company that has delivered clever marketing tactics. 

B-Good Award

For a good business

This award recognises a company that has done well for the community and the world through its commercial practice. “It’s not how good you are; it’s how good you want to be,” said Paul Arden once.

Indi Award

For new and First Peoples

This award recognises a successful company with founders from Indigenous or ethnic heritage that has gained success in the market.

Baton Award

For the life-long mentor

This award recognises an experienced and trusted advisor or a mentor who elevated and provided guidance, motivation and emotional support to your career.

The Hall of Fame

For future builders

This award recognises a game-changer who paved the way by breaking new grounds and inventing new categories.

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Category tracks

The Culture track seeks entries that exemplify the development of an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, crucial for organisational success and growth. Submissions should illustrate transformative strategies implemented across core business functions, reflecting expertise, leadership, and a clear vision. These strategies should demonstrate a positive impact on the business, its employees, stakeholders, and customers, showcasing how a nurturing culture contributes to overall growth and innovation.

The Excellence track celebrates businesses that have demonstrated remarkable success and impact within their industry, regardless of their size. Entries for this category should illustrate how the business's strategic execution, guided by visionary leadership and exceptional expertise, has significantly influenced the industry. The focus will be on the tangible outcomes of these strategies, highlighting the company's ability to innovate, lead, and leave a lasting impression in its field.

The Good track is focused on recognising companies dedicated to their mission of creating a positive societal impact. Entries should highlight innovative solutions aimed at addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability, social equity, and community well-being. Successful submissions will demonstrate how their initiatives contribute to significant changes, tackling issues like gender inequality, social imbalance, and injustice, thereby setting a precedent for responsible and impactful business practices.

Awarded to a single entry in a category, Grand Prix is the top accolade in that category. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in that category.

The Growth track is about showcasing how businesses have enhanced productivity and execution to make a significant impact in their market. Entries should highlight innovative strategies that have optimised the customer journey, leading to increased engagement and commercial success. This track is for those who have effectively used their understanding of the market and customer needs to scale their business and achieve notable growth.

The Operators track seeks entries that showcase leadership in fostering innovation within their ecosystems. Ideal submissions will highlight how your initiatives have catalysed the creation of new products or services, bolstered by a culture that uplifts internal teams and the wider community. This track celebrates those who drive progress by empowering voices and forging transformative connections in their industry.


  • Always Evolving New

    Acknowledges a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a company, encourages employee development, and always looks for ways to optimise and innovate operations.

  • Big & Mighty Culture New

    Recognises companies (51-1000 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Diverse Co.

    Celebrates workplaces dedicated to fostering innovation through a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

  • Small & Mighty Culture New

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 50 employees for their remarkable ability to foster innovation and set new benchmarks in their domain.

  • Work Sweet Work

    Acknowledges companies that have achieved extraordinary employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, creating an exemplary workplace culture.

  • Company of the Year

    Honours an outstanding company that not only showcases exemplary leadership and resilience but also demonstrates a clear, quantifiable impact over the past year.

  • Customer Obsessed New

    Applauds prioritisation, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, including feedback, personalised services and ensuring high satisfaction.

  • Defiant Ones

    Recognises firms that lead technological innovation, setting new standards and defining the future of their industries.

  • Hammer

    Celebrates companies that have not only defined success on their own terms but have also concretely demonstrated their triumphs over the past year.

  • I Wish I'd Done That

    Applauds ingenious, simple solutions in niche markets that spark a universal sentiment of admiration.

  • On the Rise

    Celebrates early-stage startups, under 4 years, that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

    Recognises young visionaries under 30 with outstanding talents and achievements, setting them apart in their fields.

  • Singularity

    Highlights AI-driven companies that are pioneering new services or integrating AI to create innovative products.

  • Women in Business

    Celebrates female entrepreneurs and leaders who are forging paths for future generations by creating more equitable opportunities.

  • B-Good

    Recognises businesses that redefine commercial success by positively transforming our economic system for the benefit of all stakeholders.

  • Circular Pioneer

    Celebrates companies at the forefront of circular economy practices, making substantial and sustainable differences.

  • Ethical Leadership New

    Commends companies exemplifying leadership in environmental and social governance, setting standards in corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

  • Going Green

    Acknowledges companies leading large-scale sustainable initiatives, addressing critical areas like clean energy and environmental justice.

  • Collab New

    Honours strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses to leverage complementary strengths, access new markets, and share resources for synergistic growth and innovation.

  • Design First

    Celebrates companies where design is the heartbeat of innovation, engaging the whole team in crafting groundbreaking products.

  • Going Global New

    Applauds companies that have expanded their reach globally, showcasing exceptional growth and international success.

  • Great Pivot

    Acknowledges companies that adeptly navigate change, leveraging insights to pivot towards delivering outstanding products.

  • Movement

    Recognises unforgettable event experiences that resonate emotionally, drive social change, or achieve viral status.

  • New Model

    Honours businesses revolutionising markets with elegant and disruptive business models.

  • Next Level New

    Applauds companies which had successful strategic acquisition and integration of another entity, staff or an asset that allowed them to further grow and scale their services.

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, online and offline, setting new standards for success.

  • Angel

    Honours visionary angel investors who've significantly contributed to early-stage startups, guiding them toward success.

  • C-Suite

    Recognises exceptional leadership qualities in high-ranking executives, showcasing their management and interpersonal excellence.

  • Creative Maverick New

    Honours unconventional thinkers with exceptional abilities to execute typically unimaginable initiatives, expertly coordinate teams, secure funding or successfully launch multiple ventures.

  • Ecosystem Star

    Celebrates individuals who energise and nurture their communities, fostering engagement and advocacy.

  • Future Builder

    Recognises the determination and resilience of founders who've embarked on the challenging journey of starting their own ventures.

  • Quiet Achiever New

    Applauds the unsung heroes whose behind-the-scenes efforts have led to flawless project executions and exceeded expectations.

  • Splash Down Under New

    Acknowledges international companies making a noteworthy entrance into the Australian market, enriching the local business ecosystem.

  • TopCoder

    Recognises developers for their outstanding technical skills, clean code, and collaborative spirit.

  • Venture Cap

    Salutes venture capital firms with a track record of backing transformative businesses, contributing significantly to Australia's economic growth.

  • Visionary New

    Recognises effective leadership by setting a clear vision, motivating the team, and making strategic decisions that guide their business towards its goals.

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