Aim for the Diamond: Understanding the Different Categories

1 June, 2023
Aim for the Diamond: Understanding the Different Categories | News | Pause Awards
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Ann Nounce
1 June, 2023

A comprehensive guide to various award categories, including individual, company, investor, TopCoder, and the exciting 11 new categories.

A must-read for those looking to enter Pause Awards and wanting to understand more about different categories.

Navigating the categories of any awards can be a daunting task. Yet, fear not! This is why we have divided all categories into Category Tracks: Culture, Excellence, Good, Growth and Operators. This alone will alleviate a lot of searching so you can focus on the relevant field that you want your company to be recognised for.

Let’s dive deep into the nuances of these categories, highlighting examples from Australia’s thriving business, tech and innovation scene, and offering key advice to help you set your sights on that coveted diamond award – which actually is the best-in-show award and trophy!

Individual Categories

The individual category is a testament to personal tenacity, leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit. If you’re an elite athlete turned entrepreneur, consider the ‘Game Changer’ of ‘Fame for good’ category. Think Ian Thorpe, a champion in the pool and now making waves with his wellness brand, Thorpedo Foods.

The ‘C-Suite‘ category would suit high-performing executives such as Jane Lu, the inspiring CEO of Showpo. For those flying under the radar while doing the heavy lifting, the ‘Silent Achiever’ category is perfect. Think unsung heroes like the COOs and CFOs of flourishing startups. 

The ‘Women in Business’ category celebrates successful female leaders like Melanie Perkins of Canva and has hit top five most popular categories on launch last year, while the ‘Body&Mind’ category is perfect for those promoting a healthy lifestyle, like City Cave and Wellness Centre. 

This year, we recommend considering the ‘Game Changer’, ‘Women in Business’, and ‘Body&Mind’ categories, as they cover a broad spectrum of achievements, from entrepreneurship and leadership to promoting social well-being.

Company Categories

Company categories offer numerous opportunities for businesses across various sectors to highlight their unique accomplishments. The ‘New Model‘ category at the Pause Awards celebrates companies that have daringly reshaped traditional business practices. Take CHEP, a trailblazer in the logistics industry, brilliantly leveraged a surplus of military pallets post-World War II to craft a pioneering pallet-pooling business model. This innovation provided customers with cost-effective and efficient access to reusable pallets, catapulting CHEP to become the world’s leading reusable pallet and container company.

Similarly, Macquarie Group, an avant-garde in the financial services sector, responded to the rising demand for long-term yield assets with innovative financing and operating strategies. Their unique approach to infrastructure asset management fueled their international expansion and transformed industry standards.

The ‘Defiant ones’ category is an excellent choice for companies like Catapult, the Melbourne tech company behind race-winning strategies in Formula 1. The ‘Pioneer’ category is perfect for first to market innovators like Zip Co, a leading player in the booming buy-now-pay-later market.

Meanwhile, the ‘B-Good’ category is tailor-made for businesses like Thankyou Group or Who gives a crap, whose social enterprise model is making a difference worldwide. Similarly, a company making strides in sustainability, such as KeepCup, might find the ‘Going Green‘ category suits their environmental efforts.

A tech titan like Xero may want to showcase their innovative prowess in the ‘Singularity‘ category, which recognises businesses that have deployed AI in creative and effective ways. On the other hand, a company like BaeJuice that has had explosive growth in Australia, may find the ‘Wildfire‘ or ‘Out of the garage’ category fitting for their efforts to now scale to the US by signing a deal with Gold Coast Distributors. Furthermore, a company like T2, known for their striking retail design and branding, could be a perfect fit for the ‘Design first‘ category.

In 2022, the top five company categories were: ‘Defiant ones’, ‘I wish I’d done that’, ‘Hammer’, ‘Wildfire’, ‘Company of the year’ and ‘Women in business’. Our top 5 picks for company categories this year would be ‘Down under’, ‘Company of the year’, ‘On the rise’, ‘New model’, and ‘Diverse co’, each highlighting a unique aspect of a company’s journey to success.

Investor Categories

Angel investors and venture capitalists, the catalysts of the business world, have a unique spot in the ‘Angel’ and ‘Venture Cap’ categories. If you’ve been nurturing fledgling companies like Paul Bassat’s Square Peg Capital, or seeding startups like Blackbird Ventures, then these categories are for you. As these categories are open for Public Voting, it’s also a chance to earn recognition from the community you’ve helped nurture.

TopCoder Category

The ‘TopCoder’ category puts the spotlight on software developers and engineers with exemplary technical skills and a cooperative spirit. If you’re creating cutting-edge software at tech powerhouses like Atlassian or pioneering digital solutions at startups like SafetyCulture, the ‘TopCoder’ category is for you. This category is perfect for those who speak the language of code and aren’t afraid to push technological boundaries.

New Categories

This year has brought eleven brand-new categories into the limelight. These include ‘Mind&Body’ for the best wellness provider, ‘Growth hacker’ for growth marketing experts, ‘Game changer’ for elite athletes turned entrepreneurs, ‘Down under’ for launching in the Australian market, ‘Pioneer’ for the first to market, ‘New model’ for the new business model, ‘Movement’ for an event experience, ‘Fame for good’ for a celebrity driven social impact, ‘Trendsetter’ for influencer led business, ‘TopCoder’ for technically skilled developers and ‘Singularity’ for an artificial intelligence business. 

Whether you’re an individual carving your path, a company reshaping an industry, an investor fuelling the growth of future unicorns, a developer pushing boundaries, or a pioneer in one of the new category areas, there’s a place for you in the diverse landscape of Pause Awards.

Aim for the diamond that best represents your unique achievements. With recognition across a broad demographic and industry spectrum, the Pause Awards truly encapsulate the spirit of innovation, tenacity, and excellence prevalent in today’s business world.

Remember, these awards aren’t just about winning – they’re about validating and recognising the journey, stress testing your business performance, celebrating the hustle and inspiring others with your story. So go ahead, pick your category, and take a shot at the diamond. It’s your time to shine!

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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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