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The most ambitious and forward-thinking companies in Australia revealed

24 November, 2021
The most ambitious and forward-thinking companies in Australia revealed | News | Pause Awards
George Hedon
24 November, 2021
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In its fourth edition, the 2021 Pause Awards toast the bold individuals, startups, scaleups and large businesses for their outstanding achievements, innovations and creativity.

In the halls of the Miami themed venue, Bobby McGees, 63 winners come together to celebrate one another, with award categories that span from the Defiant Ones, the Inception Award, to You have Ethics. The year also saw a new award category added to the lineup. The Grand Prix Award is merit-based and celebrates the best in business, including brick-and-mortar businesses and tech companies and startups.
Grand Prix winners walked away with the world’s first NFT minted award trophies, furthering our commitment to digital authenticity and value. You can read more about it in our 2022 launch on the new website. But, for now, head over to the Pause Awards Trophy Shop to purchase your winning designer trophies.

Ovira, a Sydney-based health-tech company founded by Alice Williams, and Mr Yum – a four-time winner across Hammer, Work Sweet Work, Defiant Ones, and the Out of the Garage awards – were 2021’s Grand Prix award winners. 

The top five industries that drew the most wins were computer tech (software), financial services, food & beverage, consumer goods, and education — with the average funding for a company entered sitting at a staggering $17 million, and the average age of the Founder being 37.

Out of 63 winners, there were six double title winners; two triple titles went to Ovira and Heaps Normal, while Mr Yum banked four awards.

Company winners included Linktree, Law on Earth, Nuheara, Safely, Slyp, Removify and Music Health and some individual winners included Nick Hudson (The Push for Better Foundation), Michelle Akhidenor (The Peers Project) and Emma McAllister (Education Perfect), among several others.

Highlighting the work and achievements of pathbreaking individuals, this year’s recipient of the Hall of Fame was Prof. Martin Green, the inventor of solar who followed suit after last year’s illustrious recipient, John O’Sullivan, who led the system design for the world’s first WiFi chipset.

We’re so proud to have been able to provide a platform for celebrating the winners’ contributions to building better ecosystems, and you best be assured that we’ll be back in 2022 with a bang!

Before we sign off, we’d like to give a big shout out to VicGov, who has partnered with us until 2023 to help build Pause Awards into the national tech and innovation program it aims to be. And of course, this year’s partners MYOB, Blackmagic Design and OVHcloud.

Now grab your glasses, and let’s raise a toast to our winners:

You have Ethics Award – For the right values in life and business.
WINNER Verve Super

Work Sweet Work Award – For a great workplace culture.
WINNER Mr Yum
WINNER hipages Group

Going Green Award – For delivering impact and scale.
GRAND PRIX LAVO
WINNER Verve Super
WINNER ettitude

Defiant Ones Award – For new tech breakthroughs.
WINNER Removify
WINNER Mr Yum
WINNER Pyn
WINNER Open
WINNER Bodd

Unexpected Twist Award – For a great pivot.
WINNER HungryHungry
WINNER Future Normal

Underground Award – For early stage mavericks.
GRAND PRIX Heaps Normal
WINNER A Glass of
WINNER Lyre’s Spirit Co.

Out of the Garage Award – For scaling globally.
GRAND PRIX Linktree
WINNER Ovira
WINNER Mr Yum
WINNER Quad Lock
WINNER Safely
WINNER Adventus.io

I Wish I’d Done That Award – For sheer brilliance.
GRAND PRIX Providoor
WINNER Ovira
WINNER Slyp
WINNER Removify
WINNER Music Health
WINNER AirRobe
WINNER TAXIBOX
WINNER Heaps Normal
WINNER Five Mile Radius

Hammer Award – For nailing it.
GRAND PRIX Ovira
WINNER Guzman y Gomez Mexican Kitchen
WINNER Quad Lock
WINNER Heaps Normal
WINNER Mr Yum
WINNER Memories Group Limited
WINNER Nuheara
WINNER Aussie Broadband
WINNER Booktopia
WINNER Birchal
WINNER Lyre’s Spirit Co.
WINNER hipages Group
WINNER Marketplacer

B-Good Award – For a good business.
GRAND PRIX Law On Earth
WINNER Swoop Aero
WINNER Carers Couch
WINNER Seeing Machines Ltd
WINNER Inspiring Rare Birds
WINNER The Push for Better Foundation
WINNER Kalinya Communications
WINNER Envato

Super Connector Award – For being the community champ.
GRAND PRIX Nick Hudson, Chief of Push Ups, The Push for Better Foundation
WINNER Michelle Mannering, Developer Community Manager, GitHub
WINNER Emily Blanch, Head of Community & Co-Founder, XY Adviser

Prodigy Award – For being exceptional.
GRAND PRIX Emma McAllister, Head of Operations, Education Perfect
WINNER Michelle Akhidenor, Founder & CEO, The Peers Project

Do You Know Who I Am Award – For the silent achiever.
WINNER Gilbert Guaring, Global Head of Marketing and Communications, UAP | Urban Art Projects

Inception Award – For visionary thinkers.
WINNER Alicia Holmquest, Co-Founder, Wellness in Real Life

Originals Award – For visual creativity, collaboration and experimentation.
GRAND PRIX Mehdi Hadi, Vfx Motion Designer, Art Director, Director
WINNER EUN WOO LEE, Creative Director, BICTURE
WINNER Hewitt Lee, Motion Designer
WINNER Max Zhang, Creative director and animator, Flatwhite Motion

The 2021 Awards was the most electrifying and exhilarating one to date — with celebrations that included exceptional hosting and entertainment acts, going on till the wee hours of the night.


Pause Awards '22 entries are now open!
Website banner, enter awards
Easy to enter. Impossible to forget.
Have dreams? Go get them.
Early entries end on 15 July, at midnight.
For the most ambitius and forward-thinking people.

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