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Pause Awards is the home for champions as we honour business excellence, performance and effectiveness annually to measure the progress of the Australian innovation ecosystem.

Pause Awards 2019 Awards Night

Who we are

We are an independent innovation agent, established in 2018 as a means to recognise the most ambitious and forward-thinking businesses. Originally part of the Pause Fest, the world’s leading festival for business and creativity in Australia.

We can’t wait to welcome the new and repeating champions of business in Australia, because the success is worth celebrating! The awards are inclusive and focused on all aspects of the ecosystem building by highlighting the champions and unearthing the secret gems. Reflecting on the mammoth growth of the local ecosystem, Pause Awards now honours under five key category tracks: Growth, Excellence, Operators, Good and Culture.

Only 1000 words stand between you and the Pause Award, and our judges. They score the facts, results, innovation and impact created in the marketplace. And if you are a stand out you may even win the Grand Prix trophy, our highest accolade.

We expect to honour many great business achievements this year, and we hope that yours is one of them.

“Winning the Pause Award put our brand SINGLE USE AIN’T SEXY on the map. It’s like the Oscars for innovation and creativity.”
Josh Howard
CEO & Founder, Single Use Ain’t Sexy

How it started

Pause Awards started in 2018 as part of Pause Fest internal nominations by the programming team for the companies that excel.

For over a decade, recognising the top achievers and keeping the high standards was always in line with the Pause Fest ethos as the innovation catalyst in Australia. Pause Awards became a natural extension of that recognition and global reputation.

Pause Awards 2019 Awards Night

Not all awards are
created equal.


Mission

We celebrate innovative Australian businesses for their excellence, performance and effectiveness. Pause Awards is a symbol of progress, achievement and community. We aim to be the epicentre for ambitious and forward-thinking businesses in our ecosystem and to inspire future generations. We respect the real people who do real things.


The home for champions

We promise to be the home for champions, and to deliver on that vision, we’re dedicated to providing exclusive, high quality and bespoke experiences – from our refreshed website with refined user experience, our entry and judging portal built based on your feedback, all through to our annual trophy designs with NFT drops by various 3D artists, and of course the night of nights – Award ceremony, Welcome Reception and the official Afterpary. And maybe more.

Our values are simple: Ecosystem first, and then community – where we build valuable experiences and grow together. The bigger our community gets, the better benefits will be. So let’s grow!

Pause Awards 2021 Awards Night
Awards Night 2021

The ecosystem

Why do we care about the tech and innovation ecosystem? Because without it, there would be no progress and growth. It gives us the purpose to live, create, care and belong. 

The Australian ecosystem is booming. The Startup Genome 2022 report says the Sydney ecosystem is now worth US$68 billion (A$97.8bn) and Melbourne’s at US$17bn (A$24.4bn).

In 2021, approximately US$5bn was invested into Australian and Kiwi startups – making it a record-breaking year for Australian technology businesses. On top of that, the year saw significant growth rounds for the likes of Canva, Airwallex, and ROKT, which are now valued at US$40bn, US$5.5bn, and US$1.9bn, respectively.

Noting A Cloud Guru sale to Pluralsight for US$2bn as well as Square’s purchase of Afterpay for US$29bn, it is safe to say that Australian tech businesses have now, more than ever, become attractive acquisitions for established overseas players.

We want to encourage businesses across Australia to keep growing and become the industry leaders that propel our ecosystem forward.

We want to encourage businesses across Australia to keep growing and become the industry leaders that propel our ecosystem forward.

Pause Awards 2021 Awards Night
Awards Night 2021

Why enter

We’re here to champion the ecosystem’s growth continuously and are on the lookout for the most successful companies, people and ideas in the market to award their success, resilience and positive impact.

We’re here to champion the ecosystem’s growth continuously and are on the lookout for the most successful companies, people and ideas in the market to award their success, resilience and positive impact.

Pause Awards is one of the highest accolades in business achievement because entries are evaluated in two rounds by a judging panel comprising leading figures from the business and tech worlds. And they’re all looking for actual, tangible results.

The benefits of entering include:

Challenge yourself – compete with the best in class.

Build credibility with the Pause Awards stamp of approval.

Tell your success story to the world, break the news.

Get premier access to the intimate winner’s only experiences.

Own limited edition designer trophy and Pause NFT

Get your own page in the Business Index, and hit TOP10 charts

Write your own content and share it to our newsroom.

And above all of those benefits listed, winning an award is a great staff motivator, boosting the company culture and trickles down to better productivity and well, you guess it – better product!

Finalists will be published on the Pause Awards news page, and winners will become part of the Pause Index where they will have their own profile pages. We will also share your businesses through our socials and newsletter audiences. In addition, the award Trophy, NFT, certificate and all other 17 benefits will also be available to winners.

“The Pause Awards 2021 submissions were insightful, ingenious and courageous efforts and some simply extraordinary.”
Lee Tonitto
Chair, Judging Board, Pause Awards

Past winners

“Winning the Pause Award put our brand SINGLE USE AIN’T SEXY on the map. It’s like the Oscars for innovation and creativity.”
Josh Howard
CEO & Founder, Single Use Ain’t Sexy
“Pause is the community of amazing innovators, and we are thrilled to be recognised for the third year running.”
Matt Vitale
Co-Founder, Birchal
“Well, it a) made me laugh when I read it and b) made me feel a lot prouder than any other award I’ve received. So thank you! I’m honoured.”
Cyan Ta’eed
Founder, Exec Dir/ Co-Founder, Envato
“Entrepreneurship is all about the community. Otherwise it can be a very isolated experience. So being part of the ecosystem is everything.”
Jirra Harvey
Founder, Kalinya
“Pause Fest and Awards is very renowned, and we just wanted to be part of it. I feel very supported.”
Michelle Akhidenor
CEO, The Peers Project
1 / 6

Past partners


Awards trophy

From 2021, the Pause Awards trophy has become seasonable. This means that there will be a new design of the rainbow shaped trophy each year.

There is a potential to win a Standard award or a Grand Prix in each category. The Judging Board internally decides the Hall of Fame. There is no limit to the number of awards per category; it’s all about the quality and best metrics. The awards are given only on achieving a high average score marked by our judges and Judging Board.

Pause Awards Standard Trophy 2021
Pause Standard Trophy. This is the standard award that’s won at the Pause Awards.
Pause Awards Grand Prix Trophy 2021
Pause Grand Prix Trophy. This is the highest accolade of the Pause Awards and is only given if the judging board agrees unanimously that the entry stands above the rest.
Pause Awards Hall of Fame Trophy 2021
Pause Hall of Fame Trophy. Each year the judging board picks one extraordinary human for their lifetime achievement, their impact on society and for pushing the industry forward.

NFT Trophy

All three physical trophies, the Standard, Grand Prix and Hall of Fame, accompany the artistic digital version of Pause NFT, minted on OpenSea and holds a future value for the winner. Each year a different 3D Artist will design the Pause NFT trophy, so you can see how a Pause Award trophy can extend into another dimension of digital art and the metaverse.


  • Why the Pause NFT trophy?

    NFT stands for a non-fungible token. NFT is simply the receipt (aka file) of an original ownership stored and distributed on the blockchain that can be traded and transferred. While an NFT is a receipt of original ownership of the trophy, it also often includes an image, video, or even a 3D model.

    We liked the idea of minting an NFT of the physical trophy because we want to transfer 100% of the ownership to each winner. It’s as simple as that! You’ve won it, and you should own it. Pause Awards is the first award program in the world to propose a concept like this.

    Here are five more use cases of how NFT can be helpful in the near future:

    1. To transfer land deeds, provide proof of ownership and even keep track of the artwork.
    2. Allowing access to exclusive content without accounts.
    3. To protect intellectual property and patents.
    4. Can provide proof of attendance, degree earned, and other important information.
    5. To replace tickets in the very near future. For example, parking passes.

    NFTs will provide an ease of use for many services. They will also increase transparency in many transactions, especially when it comes to the ownership of physical properties such as artworks, real estate, a concept or idea, and such.

    Currently, NFTs are sold as artworks, and most of them hold very little to no value; some of them can be scams. But very few are incredible with great stories backed by a strong community, and they can be beautiful artworks too. There are many NFT galleries that sign specific artists to create such artworks.


  • What’s the benefit of Pause NFT?

    Some of you, like many, may not hold any cryptocurrencies and don’t understand the full value of owning an NFT. But the Pause NFT trophy will mark the beginning of an interesting new adventure for you.

    Right now, and in the very near future, you can expect to:

    • Use Pause NFT as a Twitter avatar.
    • Start your NFT collection of event badges and artworks.
    • Interact with new technology and get clued up for things to come.
    • Get special invites for in-person VIP events.
    • Exhibit your NFT in group gallery shows.
    • Take your 3D trophy as NFT into the metaverse at Decentraland.
    • Sell or trade your Pause NFT trophy.

    But don’t worry, we’re also learning along the way as it’s all a very new and unexplored territory with huge potential.

    Pause Awards is breaking new grounds by introducing the Pause NFT trophy to help you learn more about the potential of this new technology. And for those who are more proficient, this is an opportunity to expand their collections, add more value and play along.

    Plus, doing this sets us apart from other award programs!

“Wether you end up giving fuck about NFTs or not, you have to learn what the blockchain is about because it’s going to affect your life.”
Gary Vaynerchuk

Applications are now open


Enter now

Category tracks



Creating a safe and open space in which everyone thrives and the collaboration flows through all levels and titles with the power of the one team. The entries should demonstrate how the transformation has been achieved across core business functions, that have delivered a positive impact and growth for business, staff, stakeholders and customers. Judges will only refer to written entries during the evaluation process. No additional research will be undertaken, and for this reason, we recommend you give detailed and sharp answers.

Celebrating commercial effectiveness through success in the marketplace by leaving a dent in the universe, no matter what the size of the company. The entries should demonstrate the highest levels of expertise, leadership and vision in the application of their business strategies. Judges will only refer to written entries during the evaluation process. No additional research will be undertaken, and for this reason, we recommend you give detailed and sharp answers.

Standing up for your purpose and going beyond together as a team aligned on the single mission to positively impact the environment, people and community. The entries should demonstrate ideas intended to change the world; work which sets out to positively impact ingrained gender inequality, social imbalance or injustice. Judges will only refer to written entries during the evaluation process. No additional research will be undertaken, and for this reason, we recommend you give detailed and sharp answers.

Only awarded to a single entry in each category track, Grand Prix is the highest accolade in Pause Awards. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in class.

​​Focusing on the productivity and elegance of execution to deliver impactful ideas to a market (or many) with the power to cut through the noise. Entries should demonstrate how the innovation and optimisation of the customer journey led to scaled consumer engagement and commercial success. Judges will only refer to written entries during the evaluation process. No additional research will be undertaken, and for this reason, we recommend you give detailed and sharp answers.

Elevating every voice in the ecosystem is not just important for its collective success, industry development but also for the future growth. The entries should demonstrate ingenuity which leads to the creation of new products and services, through leadership, by elevating the internal culture and communities they serve. Judges will only refer to written entries during the evaluation process. No additional research will be undertaken, and for this reason, we recommend you give detailed and sharp answers.


Categories


  • Diverse Co. (NEW)

    For nurturing an inclusive environment. This award recognises a workplace that has successfully and intentionally encouraged innovation among diverse employees.


  • Large team culture (NEW)

    For fostering innovation. This award recognises a workplace with over 1000+ employees that has outpaced their cohort in fostering a culture of innovation.


  • Medium team culture (NEW)

    For fostering innovation. This award recognises a workplace with 21-999 employees that has outpaced their cohort in fostering a culture of innovation.


  • Small team culture (NEW)

    For fostering innovation. This award recognises a workplace with less than 20 employees that has outpaced their cohort in fostering a culture of innovation


  • Work sweet work

    For a great workplace culture. This award recognises a company that has managed to improve or attain outstanding levels of employee engagement, retention and satisfaction.


  • Company of the Year (NEW)

    For the best company. This award recognises a company leadership, success, ambition to excel against all odds with the solid future development plans.


  • Defiant ones

    For new tech breakthroughs. This award recognises a company that defines the future of the industry they play in.


  • Hall of fame

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


  • Hammer

    For nailing it. This award recognises a company's success – on their own terms – in the market.


  • I wish I'd done that

    For sheer brilliance. This award recognises a company's simple and clever idea in a niche market.


  • Indi

    For new and First Peoples. This award recognises a successful company with its founders from indigenous or ethnic heritage that gained success in the market.


  • On the rise

    For early stage mavericks. This award recognises an early stage startup that has done well in its first three years.


  • Prodigy

    For being exceptional. This award recognises a young person with exceptional qualities or abilities.


  • Women in business (NEW)

    For breaking the mould. This award recognises a successful female leader and entrepreneur who is paving the way forward for the future generations.


  • B-Good

    For a good business. This award recognises a company that has done well to change our economic system to positively impact all stakeholders through their commercial practice.


  • Circular Pioneer

    For making a difference. This award category recognises a company that is pioneering their circular efforts.


  • Going green

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


  • You've got ethics

    For the leadership in environmental social governance. This award category recognises a company that is promoting accountability, good governance, leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility and solving societal problems.


  • Design first (NEW)

    For design lead products. This award recognises a company that is using design to drive product innovation with the entire company onboard.


  • Inception

    For visionary thinkers. This award recognises a person that came up with the transformative idea that can change the world for better.


  • Out of the garage

    For scaling globally. This award recognises a company's global growth, expansion, and success.


  • Unexpected twist

    For a great pivot. This award recognises a company that has taken an unexpected pivot in their business or career.


  • Wildfire (NEW)

    For conquering a marketplace. This award recognises a company that has made a significant impact on the marketplace in the shortest amount of time.


  • Backbone (NEW)

    For backing the future idea. This award recognises a VC firm with a portfolio of companies that have made a significant contribution to the growth and success of the AU economy.


  • Brave Angel (NEW)

    For early stage support. This award recognises an angel investor that has garnered a portfolio of companies and has a good track record of helping founders succeed.


  • C-Suite (NEW)

    For the best leadership. This award recognises the highest-ranking executive that has impeccable leadership, management and interpersonal skills.


  • Do you know who I am

    For the silent achiever. This award recognises a person that has been responsible for the success of their company from the backstage.


  • Future builder (NEW)

    For grit to start a new venture. This award recognises a founder at any level and life stage who has decided to start jumping the hoops of their own business.


  • Hottest hub (NEW)

    For the best community. This award recognises a co-working space that provides boutique experience, world class facilities with community management.


  • Launch pad (NEW)

    For activating the support systems. This award recognises an accelerator that has a good reputation in providing the best startup program with industry connections.


  • Super connector

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

Early entries close in
00d : 00h : 00m : 00s
How to enter