Pause Awards 2021 Finalists Skyrocket

17 November, 2021
Pause Awards 2021 Finalists Skyrocket | News | Pause Awards
Ann Nounce profile pic
Ann Nounce
17 November, 2021

What a smashing year so far for the Pause Awards!

This year’s awards program has almost double the entries, with 167 companies and individuals entering. In addition, we’ve partnered with MYOB, Blackmagic Design, OVHcloud, and VicGov – now our major partner until 2023.

“The 2021 Pause Awards submissions were insightful, ingenious and courageous efforts and some simply extraordinary.”

Lee Tonnito – Chair, Pause Awards Judging Board

And we’ve introduced a new award category for business excellence this year. The Grand Prix award will be given to a selected winner only if the Judging Board unanimously decides the entry is truly worthy.

“At the intersection of technology, creativity and innovation, it is all about unknowns and exploring uncharted territories. In my experience, award submissions allow you to sit down and reflect on what you and your team have achieved and share them with the community. So it was delightful and a bit magical to sit down with the 2021 esteemed judging board and review the finalists’ innovative ideas/submissions from the diversity of impressive domestic and international minds. The Pause Awards 2021 submissions were insightful, ingenious, courageous, and some simply extraordinary. Winning is not an intrinsic quality of innovation, but sharing ideas, lessons learned, and outcomes achieved is definitely. So to all submissions – well done on making a difference!’ said Lee Tonitto, Chair – Judging Board at Pause Awards.

Here are some general statistics about the 2021 Pause Awards entrants:

  1. The top 5 industries in 2021 are:
  2. Computer Technology – Software
  3. Financial Services
  4. Food & Beverage
  5. Consumer Goods
  6. Education

10 new categories are: Defiant Ones, Creative Genius, Underground, Exit Planet, Circular Pioneer, You have Ethics, Work Sweet Work, Going Green Award, Inside Out and Inception Award.

The top 5 most popular categories in 2021 are:

  1. I Wish I’d Done That 
  2. Hammer
  3. Defiant Ones 
  4. Out of Garage
  5. B–Good

The average age of the founder is 37 years.

The average funding for a company entered is $17 million.

The international industry judging panel, chaired by Lee Tonitto, Managing Director at Tonitto and Partners, included Ben Ford, Head of Growth at Frollo, Christina Gerakiteys, Co-CEO at SingularityU Australia. Sonia Clarke, Director, Future of Work, PwC and Tom Leyden, Global Leader of IT at Woods Bagot.

We congratulate all entrants on their current successes, especially all Finalists who made it through two rounds of challenging judging process this year, with some to be crowned as the most innovative and impactful companies in Australia.

Company Awards Finalists:
A Glass of
Aussie Broadband
Carers Couch
Cogniss (2)
Cyber Clinic
Digital Skills Organisation
ettitude (2)
Five Mile Radius
Future Normal
Guzman y Gomez Mexican Kitchen (2)
Heaps Normal (3)
hipages Group (2)
Home/ Upzeez
Inspiring Rare Birds
Kalinya Communications
Law On Earth
Lyre’s Spirit Co. (3)
Marketplacer (2)
Memories Group Limited
Mr Yum (4)
Music Health
Open (2)
Ovira (4)
Quad Lock (3)
Removify (2)
Seeing Machines Ltd
Stone & Chalk
Swoop Aero
The Push for Better Foundation
Verve Super (2)
Young Folks

Individual Awards Finalists
Alicia Holmquest, Co-Founder, Wellness in Real Life
Anthony Kwok, CEO, ZILIO
Chris Olufeso, Founder & CEO, Upzeez
Chrissy Symeonakis, Owner, Creative Little Soul
Emily Blanch, Head of Community & Co-Founder, XY Adviser
Emma McAllister, Head of Operations, Education Perfect

Michelle Akhidenor, Founder & CEO, The Peers Project
Gilbert Guaring, Global Head of Marketing and Communications, UAP | Urban Art Projects
Hamish Mcphee, Twitch Account Director, AUNZ, Twitch
Michelle Mannering, Developer Community Manager, GitHub
Nick Hudson, Chief of Push Ups, The Push for Better Foundation
Summer Howarth, Founder and Learning Designer, The Eventful Learning Co.
Taylor Black, Strategic Designer, Engineer & Founder, Taylor Black

Big thanks to all, and congrats! See you at the Awards Night as we announce the winners.

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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.


  • Diverse Co.

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

  • Large team culture

    Honours organisations with 1000+ employees that lead the way in nurturing a dynamic and innovative work environment.

  • Medium team culture

    Recognises mid-sized companies (21-999 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Small team culture

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 20 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

    Celebrating a standout company known for exemplary leadership, resilience, and strategic vision, underpinned by robust plans for future growth.

  • Defiant ones

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

  • Hammer

    Acknowledging companies that have carved their success path in the market, defining success on their own terms.

  • I wish I'd done that

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

  • On the rise

    Celebrating early-stage startups that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

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

  • Singularity

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

  • Women in business

    Celebrating 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.

  • Going green

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

  • You've got ethics

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

  • Design first

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

  • 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.

  • Out of the garage

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

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, 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.

  • Down under

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

  • 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.

  • Silent achiever

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

  • 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.

  • Champion

    Awarded to a single entry in all five Category Track, Champion is the top accolade from all categories in that track. To win the Champion, you need to be at Grand Prix level or score the most points.

  • Diamond

    Awarded to a best-in-show, Diamond is the highest accolade at Pause Awards. To win the Diamond, you need to be one of the five Champion winners.

  • Grand Prix

    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.

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