Inside the Pause Awards 2024: A universe of possibility

14 May, 2024
Inside the Pause Awards 2024: A universe of possibility | News | Pause Awards
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Ann Nounce
14 May, 2024

As we step into 2024, the Pause Awards, now in their seventh year, continue to be a beacon of innovation and excellence in the Australian tech and innovation ecosystem. 

With a legacy of 15 years set by Pause Fest, the awards are all about celebrating breakthroughs—those moments when a simple idea ignites significant change. This year’s theme, “Together, we break through,” encapsulates the spirit of collective advancement and impact. Here’s an inside look at what’s new and noteworthy in the Pause Awards 2024.

12 New Categories

One of the most exciting updates for 2024 is the introduction of 12 new categories, organised under five familiar Category Tracks. This restructuring aims to make it easier for entrants to showcase their innovations effectively. Categories like “Small & Mighty Culture,” “Customer Obsessed,” “Collab,” “Going Global,” “Next Level,” and “Visionary” are designed to recognise a wide range of achievements and breakthroughs.

Enhanced Entry Bundles

In response to the challenging market conditions, the Pause Awards have introduced enhanced entry bundles. These bundles offer significant value, allowing participants to enter multiple categories at a reduced cost. For instance, entrants can submit entries in three categories and receive one free entry, enter five categories and get two free entries, or enter ten categories and receive three free entries. This “more is more” approach is designed to maximise participation and recognition.

Support for Female Founders

In a bid to address the gender pay gap and celebrate Women’s International Day this year, the Pause Awards are offering a 21.7% discount for female founders and leaders. This initiative underscores our commitment to fostering greater equity and inclusion within the tech and innovation sectors.

Increased Alumni Discount

For past winners and judges, who automatically become part of the Pause Awards Alumni community, the discount has been increased from 20% to 30%. This gesture acknowledges their ongoing support and contributions, encouraging them to continue participating and inspiring new entrants.

Fortnightly Info Sessions and Private Guidance

Starting from today, May 15, participants can engage in fortnightly online Info Sessions to clear any doubts regarding the awards. Additionally, private sessions are available for more personalised guidance. For those needing comprehensive support, the Pause Awards have partnered with Green Door awards writing agency to provide end-to-end entry preparation services.

NomiGPT™ — Your AI Assistant

Introducing NomiGPT™, an AI-powered chatbot designed to assist with entry drafting. Loaded with entry questions, category details, and eligibility information, NomiGPT™ can help draft initial entries quickly. However, a paid subscription to OpenAI ChatGPT version 4 is required to access this tool. Please have a go here!

Expanded Judging Panel and New Advisory Board

The Judging Panel for 2024 includes leaders from prestigious organisations such as the Tech Council of Australia, Google, Dentsu, Aussie Angels, and over 40 more. This diverse panel ensures a comprehensive evaluation of entries. Furthermore, the Advisory Board has been strengthened with new members like Celia Harding, Founder of PR Shed, and Brett De Neise, CEO of Aceik, providing renewed strategic insights. While long-serving judges Sonia Clarke, Principal of Clever Manka, and Ben “Fintech” Ford, Head of Enterprise Sales of Tiimely, are taking over as Co-Chairs from Lee Tonitto after three years.

Industry Insights and Predictions

Industry leaders have shared their predictions for 2024, highlighting trends such as the ethical use of generative AI, the rise of AI ventures across various sectors, and the focus on clean energy transitions. Brooke Persich, founder of Onlign Lab, emphasises, “We will undoubtedly see more AI ventures across both the enterprise and consumer sectors, with a consequential prioritisation of ethics and safety standards.” A lot more judge predictions in a separate article is coming your way soon.

Celebrating Signature Experiences

In addition to the new features, we would like to remind you of our signature experiences that have been developed over six years, sets us apart from other awards. Our unwavering focus on the community and celebration of the innovative spirit of local entrepreneurs is what makes us unique. With the Selective-Winner™ recognition, we ensure that only the best entries receive accolades through two rounds of judging, maintaining our high standards. Our winners receive the Designer Trophy™, a hand-crafted symbol of innovation excellence.

The Investable Score™ Certificate indicates the potential of the entrant through virtual bets made by our judges. Top winners also have the opportunity to benefit from the Growth Mentors Board, which offers exclusive mentorship and valuable networking opportunities. Lastly, we believe that many of you are entering the Pause Awards just to showcase your Walking-Dance™ at the Awards Night ceremony and take exclusive photos to share with your mum and on your Insta accounts.

The Pause Awards 2024 promise a universe of possibilities for innovators and every-day disruptors. With 12 new categories, enhanced entry bundles, significant discounts, and comprehensive support, the awards are set to recognise and celebrate the clever minds and groundbreaking ideas in the Australian tech and innovation landscape. Join us as we break through together and make 2024 a year of remarkable achievements.

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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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