Our new vision:
The home for champions
You’ve seen the new website. You’ve heard how it was built. Now, it’s time to get down to the intent and the why – why the big shift? And why now?
Awards by definition are meant to be communities of the best in business, design, performance, and more. Sadly though, many of them have notoriously grown to become money making machines that involve little to no community engagement.
Flipping this notoriety on its head is George Hedon (Founder & CEO of Pause Awards). His vision for the awards’ new positioning has been driven by the need to create a home for champions — a platform that recognises real people doing real, impactful things.
But what does this new home for champions mean for the community? And how can they make the most of it?
To know all this and more, we sat down for a little tête-à-tête to have a deeper understanding of this shift, starting off with a bit of background into what Pause Awards is.
“The way I see it, we’re an independent innovation agent that honours business excellence and effectiveness, and we do this annually to measure the progress of the Australian ecosystem. Pause Awards was born out of Pause Fest — Australia’s largest festival for business and creativity — and has grown to acknowledge and award thought-leaders and doers across 5 key category tracks: Growth, Excellence, Operators, Good, and Culture.
Through this, we expect to honour outstanding business achievements year on year. And we can’t wait to welcome the new and experienced innovators of Australia. When I say we’re creating a home for champions, I truly mean it.”
You can tell George has had a long innings. Coming off the back of Pause Awards leads us to wonder how it all started and what exactly led to this moment.
“I think we all can agree that not all awards are created equitably. There are so many disingenuous and self congratulatory awards on the market that deliver little to no justice for the growth and development of the ecosystem. Throwing an award to someone that doesn’t really deserve it (or doesn’t deserve it just yet!), or as an encouragement, sets a bad example for what quality and real performance truly mean.George Hedon, Founder & CEO, Pause Awards
And so to counter that, we established Pause Awards in 2018 as part of Pause Fest, where it only ran as an internal nomination program for companies that were excelling. But it’s been a decade since we began recognising achievers, and setting a high standard has always been in line with the Pause Fest ethos as an innovation catalyst in Australia. And by virtue of this, Pause Awards has come to be a natural extension of that recognition and repute.
Also, we can’t not talk about how 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). It would be crazy to not care about tech and the innovation ecosystem. There would be no progress and growth without it. Innovation is what gives us the purpose to live, create, care, and beyond. And that’s why we harbour it here at Pause.”
It’s pretty wild to think how big an idea can grow to be. For George, it doesn’t stop here though. When asked what he hopes to see come out of this new home for champions, he goes on to say, “For me, Pause Awards has always been a symbol and support of progress, achievement, and community. We aim to be the epicentre for ambitious, forward-thinking businesses in our ecosystem and to inspire future generations working towards the same.
This is exactly what’s propelled us to create a home for champions, and to deliver on this new vision by providing exclusive, high-quality bespoke experiences, ranging from our refreshed website and user experience to our entry and judging portal, and of course, our new trophy designs and NFT drops by 3D artists.
And so I look forward to our community and the wider ecosystem leveraging what we seek to serve every day. I want them to know that Pause Awards is as much theirs as it has been mine, perhaps more theirs, to be honest. We’ve built the home, it’s for you to move in.
It’s fairly clear that George’s whole intention is underpinned by action, engagement, and honest facilitation of discourse on innovation and community. Here’s hoping the website is just a starting point for the same!
If you’d like to explore how you can delve deeper into the Pause Awards community, click here to learn more about the Pause Business Club.