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The power of relationships with Dom Pym at Pause Awards Night

19 December, 2023
The power of relationships with Dom Pym at Pause Awards Night | News | Pause Awards
George Hedon, founder and CEO, Pause Fest & Awards
George Hedon
19 December, 2023
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As the founder of the Pause Awards and an advocate for innovation and entrepreneurship, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some of the most inspiring stories in Australia’s tech history.

Among these narratives, one that particularly resonated with me was Dom Pym‘s speech at our recent Pause Awards event. Dom, a figure synonymous with ingenuity and leadership, has carved a unique path in the startup ecosystem, influencing many through his ventures like UP, Ferocia, and Euphemia.

In this article, I delve into Dom’s speech, a candid and impactful narrative that not only highlights his entrepreneurial journey but also the significance of relationships and community in the world of startups. His story, spanning over two and a half decades, is a powerful testament to the resilience and innovation inherent in our industry. Dom’s journey, from his humble beginnings to establishing one of Australia’s most successful digital banks, reflects the dynamism and potential of the Australian tech scene.

His words at the Pause Awards, unscripted and sincere, offered a rare glimpse into the human side of entrepreneurship – and have had a deep impact on me personally. From his early influences to the formation of lasting business partnerships and the creation of a culture of support and growth, Dom’s experiences are a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike. As we unfold his journey, we not only celebrate his achievements but also draw inspiration and lessons that resonate beyond the realms of business and technology.

Dom’s speech starts here.

If anybody here didn’t see my dance last year, you should get online and have a look. I won’t be doing that again. George asked me if I could share some stories. I thought it would be good to maybe give a little bit of background about who I am and where I’ve come from. And my relationship with Pause.

And maybe just share some thoughts and ideas that I have that hopefully will help you guys achieve success in your own lives or your own businesses, or maybe you already have. I wanted to go all the way back to where it all began, I guess. The thing about any business that I’ve been involved in, from startups to enterprises globally, is that it’s all about the people.

When I look around the room here tonight, and when I think I was the first person out in front, lining up, waiting for it to open up, as people were coming down the red carpet, it’s those relationships that matter. It’s the relationships that we build with each other, and it’s the people that make this such a great startup ecosystem in Australia.

I’m a Melbourne boy. I grew up here and spent about 7 or 8 years traveling and living overseas, in Asia, in Europe, in Silicon Valley, and in the US. But I always come back to Melbourne and have been here for a long time. My career spans probably 25 years, and I won’t bore you with it all. I’ll just give you a couple of stories about some of the people.

I’ll start with, you know, everyone would say their mom, right? What other people have inspired me or provided me with support and are my biggest fans that are not my mom? My mom did turn up to Pause, and she did turn up to PAX, she turns up to all the events to cheer us on and to meet people, but I was thinking about some of the people that had a big impact on my life that I’m not related to.

Meanwhile, his dad was, to me, what I call the ‘rich dad’ and the ‘poor dad.’ You know, my dad was the ‘poor dad,’ and his dad was the ‘rich dad.’ And he taught me things about money that you don’t learn at school. He taught me about the stock market. He taught me about the futures and options market. He taught me about computers as well as money. And now that’s what I do for a living.

For example, my best mate at school when I was in primary school, his dad was into computers, and he wasn’t into computers; he was into playing tennis. He wanted to be a Wimbledon tennis star and he made it to Wimbledon juniors, and then he injured his back and he became a coach, and he lived in London for a little while.

Meanwhile, his dad was, to me, what I call the ‘rich dad’ and the ‘poor dad.’ You know, my dad was the ‘poor dad,’ and his dad was the ‘rich dad.’ And he taught me things about money that you don’t learn at school. He taught me about the stock market. He taught me about the futures and options market. He taught me about computers as well as money. And now that’s what I do for a living.

That was, I would say, 35 years ago, and that, you know, I only met him because he was the dad of my best mate. That’s a fortuitous meeting, and some of those meetings are. But many years later, about 15, maybe 20 years later, I actually bought his company from him for a dollar.

Because I wanted to see it succeed. It was my first job when I was a kid. I was plugging in Ethernet cables and writing code in all sorts of programming languages that no one uses nowadays. And we built a stock exchange data feed. And we built some games for kids. It was good fun.

But years later, I bought that company, and then I employed a bunch of people. And some of the people that I employed, I employed them straight out of university. And there are two that I want to mention today. So one of them, his first job in IT was with me. And we had a record label at the time, as you do.

We had a number one song, a couple of number twos, a couple of number threes. We had about 500 artists. We were the largest independent record company in Australia, as you do. And so, I recruited this young fellow called Tom. He came from Monash University. We interviewed about 500 people.

I don’t know; we chose Tom because he was the most awesome. But he was the barman at the university. And then I taught him how to write code. And 20 years later, he’s worked with me through five companies over those 20 years. Sort of followed me from all the different startups that we’ve been doing.

In fact, he left the company that I work with now, which is called Ferocia. He left Ferocia just a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been nearly 20 years, but he went to join one of my other companies. I’m pretty happy with that. But I just want to talk about that relationship.

I’ve seen Tommy go from being a uni student to falling in love, getting married, having kids, all that sort of stuff, buying a house. Those are the relationships that matter. If you look around the room today, you’ll find some of those people. I thought, well, it’s a great story, Dom, but how does that help you?

Well, I was thinking that it can help you in finding a co-founder, for example. I’ll just talk about a couple of my co-founders. One of my co-founders, Tomo, was an AFL footy coach. And I’ll let him tell his story publicly. But my version of events, I was working with him for 15 years. And Tomo is 20 years older than me.

He was able to teach me things that, you know, I hadn’t learned yet. I wasn’t as worldly as him. And so he had a whole lot of sayings, some of which were too rude to repeat. But some of the things that rubbed off were the importance of people and the importance of culture. Every startup that I’ve had in the last 25 years has been about building a team to create excellence in a particular industry and to disrupt.

With Tomo, he came from a high-performance sports background, and so it was all about culture, all about the people. When we decided to start a company together, we said all we want to do is build a company and build a great team to work on great stuff in a great environment. We didn’t actually know what it was we were going to do.

15 years later, we accidentally started a bank. It’s the second fastest-growing bank in Australia. We should have a million customers next year. We sold the business a couple of years ago, but I still work with the business, and it’s called Up. If anybody is not on Up, you should be. We should have the largest portion of the under-35 Australians.

Even though we didn’t agree, Tom had this saying which I thought was really awesome, which is, ‘Even if I’ll never agree with you, I don’t agree with what you’re saying, you’re not going to convince me, but I will support you.

Hopefully, in the next few years, we’ll overtake CommBank. It’s going pretty well. But Tomo taught me a few things along the way, and I thought I’d share a couple of those things with you guys. Number one, we didn’t always agree. You can imagine over 15 years; it’s like a marriage. Even though we didn’t agree, Tom had this saying which I thought was really awesome, which is, ‘Even if I’ll never agree with you, I don’t agree with what you’re saying, you’re not going to convince me, but I will support you. Why will I support you? Because we’ve been business partners for maybe five years, six years. Our kids were growing up together. You know, it’s no good having that argument; it’s like a marriage, you know. It’s no good having that argument unless you can find a way to get through it and be stronger coming out the other side.

That’s one thing that Tomo taught me, which I think is really worth sharing. Another thing that he taught me was the power of culture and the power of a team. We have these people that work with other companies, I call them “boomerangs.” The reason I call them boomerangs is they work with us for a while, say eight or nine years, and then they leave and go do something else, and then they realise how awesome we are, and they come back again.

We have probably half a dozen of those people, and in fact, some of those people loved working with us so much that they came back. When I say they’re a critical part of what we do, Xavier, for example, is the CEO of Up. He left and just did a little company called Square, and he did that for eight years with Jack Dorsey, and they built that company to 120 billion worth of value, and then he came back and is now the CEO.

And there are lots of other people, I don’t want to go through them all, but I’m just saying these are the people that were impactful for me. So, what about Pause? Where does Pause come into the picture? Well, when we launched our digital bank, Up, we wanted to showcase the things that we do and the way that we do them, the way that we disrupt.

One of the ways we disrupt is to embed design, business (or banking in our case), technology, creativity, innovation, all into our user experience. The customer is the core of what we do.

One of the ways we disrupt is to embed design, business (or banking in our case), technology, creativity, innovation, all into our user experience. The customer is the core of what we do. But really, it’s what I call the excellence of everything. Having all of those things together is exactly what George and the team were able to pull together as Pause.

We thought Pause would be a great place for UP to be. We came along to Pause quite a few times. But I remember one time in particular was in 2018. We’d launched the bank, and we were targeting to get a million customers one day. Now we should have a million customers early next year, we’re doing okay.

But, back then, it was a dream, a pipe dream. And we just wanted to get 30,000 customers. We thought that was our first milestone. We did that in a few months and then we hit 100,000 customers. By the time we hit 100,000 customers, Pause came along, and we did an activation at Federation Square. It must have been 2018, I think, Pause in Federation Square.

At that Pause, I met my best mate’s girlfriend, who had been living overseas, and I hadn’t seen her for 25 years. You know, helped her get a job and worked together with her on a couple of projects and things. But it was a rekindling of a relationship from decades earlier.

If I hadn’t gone to that Pause, if UP hadn’t had our activation, and if Judy hadn’t gone to Federation Square and seen that, we wouldn’t be here tonight. I think that’s really important.

I also met Judy, who’s sitting over here. And Judy, a lot of people know Judy. Judy was the CEO of Startup Victoria, which is now the Startup Network. In her time as CEO, had gotten that network to 60,000 members, which is the largest startup organization in Australia.

I actually asked Judy a few years later, “What is it that you want to do next?” And now she runs my family office. The family office is called Euphemia, and our objective is to invest in women and underrepresented founders, as well as fintech and climate tech. What we do is, hopefully, elevate the entire ecosystem by giving something back to people.

If I hadn’t gone to that Pause, if UP hadn’t had our activation, and if Judy hadn’t gone to Federation Square and seen that, we wouldn’t be here tonight. I think that’s really important. Now, it’s also important to say that 2022 was peaking.

In 2022, I was FinTech Leader of the Year twice and also won the C-Suite Award at Pause. Why do I mention that? I mention that because winning awards and having that recognition in the industry is not only good for yourself and your ego, and positive things about you, making you have confidence, but it’s also good for all of us to share that with each other.

Who else did I meet at Pause? Well, one of the keynote speakers in 2018 at Pause was a lady called Kate O’Keefe. Some of you may know Kate. She’s a real Aussie entrepreneur who sold her business and worked in the Valley for about 10 years. Anyway, she’s back.

She’s got her business partner who I also met at the Pause dinner. Her name’s Fiona. Fiona and Kate have got a new startup called Heat Seeker, and Judy and I are going to be their first investors. That’s like five years later. It’s not quite 25 years later.

What about more long term? Well, Tommy followed me around for 20 years. My wife, I met when I was six at my cousin’s birthday party. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary next year. We’ve known each other for 40 years. My wife knows everything about me, and she knows all the people that I know. All of my mates are her mates.

I can’t do anything wrong, so I thought I’d better mention her. No, but she’s a rock for me, you know, she’s someone that helps me be who I am, and to ground me and bring me back down to Earth, and encourage me to build these communities and build these relationships and work with people.

There’s probably lots of other stories I could tell, but I just wanted to wrap it up by saying, I’ve told you tonight, maybe just half a dozen people. I’ll give you one more because someone was talking about Hollywood before. When I was running the record label, we wanted to make video clips.

We recruited a couple of young people. One of them was from Albury University, and he’d been studying special effects. We got him in; I bought him his first MacBook, I bought him a chair and a desk (I still have the chair). He moved on, but I’ve got the chair. He made us some video clips. They’re pretty good video clips. We did some special effects for musicians and stuff.

Anyway, he went on to make special effects in movies. He and his team made some movies you may have heard of. They won over a thousand awards in the industry. They’ve won 20 Oscars. Some of the movies you might have heard of: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings etc. They also make a lot of local content as well.

And in fact, he now has his own company making movies. Now, that’s his story to tell. That’s not my story. But I feel really proud of being able to have helped him in the early stages of his career, in his first job, to get him into special effects. My role in that was quite small, but I’m exceptionally proud. I tell everybody I can about how amazing Lindsay is and the work that he’s doing with Hollywood now. I think that, you know, that relationship spans more than 25 years. I wish him the best with his business, Future Associate.

And I just want to finish by saying that I encourage you to do two things if I can give you a takeaway. Number one is to turn to the person next to you. Walk across the room, get somebody a drink, start a conversation. Because the people that you meet here tonight are the people that you will work with, they’ll become your friends, you might even marry them.

But I think about how that relates to you guys and what we’re doing here tonight. And I just want to finish by saying that I encourage you to do two things if I can give you a takeaway. Number one is to turn to the person next to you. Walk across the room, get somebody a drink, start a conversation. Because the people that you meet here tonight are the people that you will work with, they’ll become your friends, you might even marry them.

The second thing I wanted to leave with you is that a lot of those relationships that I developed, I would not have developed if it wasn’t for one person in this room. That one person in this room brings us all together, tonight, but every year, all the time. Gives us the recognition that we deserve, helps to do what I try to do, to elevate the entire industry, to build relationships in the ecosystem. And I know there’s a whole team of people, but that one person in particular is George.

It definitely looks like a shameless self-plug, but I leave others to tell stories about me and what I do on their own accord, when they choose. I definitely didn’t expect this on the night and was left speechless. Thank you Dom, you are one and only #DaddyDom in our ecosystem as Co-MC Megan Flamer put it.

Here is the video from the Pause Awards Night & Afterparty.


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Category tracks



Creating an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture is essential for success and growth. Entries should demonstrate how this transformation has been achieved across core business functions, that showcase expertise, leadership, and vision in delivering a positive impact and growth for the business, staff, stakeholders and customers.

Recognising outstanding business success in the marketplace, regardless of company size, and celebrating the impact made on the industry. Entries should showcase exceptional expertise, leadership and vision in the execution of business strategies that have left a significant impression.

Showcase a company's commitment to their purpose and mission to create a positive impact on 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.

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.

​​Focusing on the productivity and elegance of execution to deliver impactful ideas to a market 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.

Elevating every voice in the ecosystem is crucial for the collective success and growth of the industry. 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.


Categories


  • Culture champion New

    For the best in Culture Category Track. This award recognises the best entry out of all winning entries in the track that have created a thriving culture.

    WHO: The top winners from all categories in Culture.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for the sole winner that can proudly represent the track demonstrating exceptional leadership, results and impact in their field.


  • Diverse Co.

    For nurturing an inclusive environment. This award recognises a workplace that has successfully and intentionally encouraged innovation among diverse employees.

    WHO: Diversity and inclusion managers, HR professionals, company founders, team leads, and talent acquisition specialists.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that demonstrate a purposeful, innovative approach to nurturing an inclusive environment and empowering diverse employees.


  • Large team culture

    For fostering innovation. This award recognises a workplace with over 1000+ employees that has outpaced their cohort in fostering a culture of innovation.

    WHO: CEOs, CTOs, COOs, HR directors, and team leads in organisations with 1000+ employees.

    WHAT: Judges seek evidence of a workplace that has excelled at fostering a culture of innovation, surpassing peers in the large team cohort.


  • Medium team culture

    For fostering innovation. This award recognises a workplace with 21-999 employees that has outpaced their cohort in fostering a culture of innovation.

    WHO: CEOs, CTOs, COOs, HR directors, and team leads in organisations with 21-999 employees.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to highlight the company's success in fostering a culture of innovation that outperforms others within the medium team cohort.


  • Small team culture

    For fostering innovation. This award recognises a workplace with less than 20 employees that has outpaced their cohort in fostering a culture of innovation

    WHO: CEOs, CTOs, COOs, HR directors, and team leads in organisations with less than 20 employees.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that demonstrate exceptional success in fostering a culture of innovation, outpacing their small team cohort.


  • 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.

    WHO: HR directors, employee engagement managers, company founders, and team leads.

    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that show significant improvement or attainment of outstanding levels of employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction.


  • Company of the Year

    For the best company. This award recognises a company leadership, success, ambition to excel against all odds with the solid future development plans.

    WHO: CEOs, COOs, CTOs, company founders, and general managers.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to demonstrate exceptional leadership, success, ambition to excel, and solid plans for future development.


  • Defiant ones

    For new tech breakthroughs. This award recognises a company that defines the future of the industry they play in.

    WHO: CEOs, CTOs, company founders, product managers, and innovation leads.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries that showcase groundbreaking technology that redefines the industry they operate in.


  • Excellence champion New

    For the best in Excellence Category Track. This award recognises the best entry out of all winning entries in the track that have executed to a highest standard.

    WHO: The top winners from all categories in Excellence.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for the sole winner that can proudly represent the track demonstrating exceptional leadership, results and impact in their field.


  • 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.

    WHO: Judging Board will privately nominate and pick the winner.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for the sole winner to award for their lifetime achievement.


  • Hammer

    For nailing it. This award recognises a company’s success – on their own terms – in the market.

    WHO: CEOs, COOs, company founders, sales directors and market strategists.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to highlight the company's unique success in the market on their own terms.


  • I wish I'd done that

    For sheer brilliance. This award recognises a company’s simple and clever idea in a niche market.

    WHO: Company founders, CEOs, CTOs, product managers and niche market strategists.

    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that showcase a simple, clever, and innovative idea within a niche market.


  • New & first

    For new and First Peoples. This award recognises a successful company with its founders from indigenous, migrant or ethnic heritage in Australia.

    WHO: Indigenous, migrant, or ethnic heritage founders, CEOs, company founders and entrepreneurs.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries from successful companies led by founders from diverse backgrounds, making an impact in Australia.


  • On the rise

    For early stage mavericks. This award recognises an early stage startup that has done well in its first three years.

    WHO: Early-stage startup founders, CEOs, CTOs, and entrepreneurs.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to demonstrate significant success within the first three years of operation.


  • Prodigy

    For being exceptional. This award recognises an under 30 year old person with exceptional qualities or abilities.

    WHO: Under-30 entrepreneurs, CEOs, CTOs, COOs and innovators.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries that showcase exceptional qualities or abilities of individuals under 30 years old.


  • Singularity New

    For an artificial intelligence business. This award recognises a company for developing ai services or those who have successfully integrated ai in their systems to deliver new products and services.

    WHO: AI company founders, CEOs, CTOs and product managers.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for companies developing AI services or successfully integrating AI into their systems to deliver new products and services.


  • Trendsetter New

    For influencer led business. This award recognises a person that has built their own business or a product through their followers' reach in social media.

    WHO: Social media influencers, content creators, entrepreneurs, and company founders.

    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that demonstrate successful businesses or products built through the reach of their social media followers.


  • Women in business

    For levelling the playing field. This award recognises a successful female leader and entrepreneur who is paving the way forward for the future generations.

    WHO: Female entrepreneurs, CEOs, company founders and business leaders.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to highlight the achievements of successful female leaders paving the way for 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.

    WHO: CEOs, company founders, corporate social responsibility managers and sustainability directors.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries that demonstrate positive impact on stakeholders through ethical and sustainable commercial practices.


  • Circular Pioneer

    For making a real difference. This award category recognises a company that is pioneering their circular efforts.

    WHO: CEOs, company founders, sustainability directors, environmental managers and circular economy strategists.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for companies that excel in implementing and pioneering circular economy efforts.


  • Fame for good New

    For a celebrity driven social impact. This award recognises a company that broke into the market by a famous person using its fame for the right cause and purpose.

    WHO: Celebrity-founded companies, CEOs, social impact leads and philanthropic entrepreneurs.

    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that demonstrate the effective use of fame for driving social impact and purpose.


  • 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.

    WHO: CEOs, COOs, company founders, sustainability directors and environmental managers.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to showcase leadership in sustainable efforts in clean energy, climate change, healthy environments, social, and economic justice.


  • Good champion New

    For the best in Good Category Track. This award recognises the best entry out of all winning entries in the track that have displayed great impact in society.

    WHO: The top winners from all categories in Good.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for the sole winner that can proudly represent the track demonstrating exceptional leadership, results and impact in their field.


  • You've got ethics

    For 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.

    WHO: CEOs, COOs, company founders, CSR managers and sustainability directors.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries that highlight leadership in environmental social governance, accountability, and solving societal problems.


  • Design first

    For design led products. This award recognises a company that is using design to drive product innovation with the entire company onboard.

    WHO: CEOs,CTOs, company founders, design leads and product managers.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to showcase how design drives product innovation within the company.


  • Great pivot

    For a sudden change in direction. This award recognises a company that has taken a pivot, based on insights, to deliver exceptional products.

    WHO: Company founders, CEOs, CTOs, COOs and product managers.
    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that showcase successful pivots based on insights, resulting in exceptional products.


  • Growth champion New

    For the best in Growth Category Track. This award recognises the best entry out of all winning entries in the track that have displayed incredible success.

    WHO: The top winners from all categories in Growth.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for the sole winner that can proudly represent the track demonstrating exceptional leadership, results and impact in their field.


  • Movement New

    For an event experience. This award recognises a company that has delivered an innovative event, conference, campaign or brand activation that emotionally moved people, delivered great social impact or vent viral.

    WHO: Event organisers, conference planners, marketing directors and brand activation leads.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that demonstrate innovative events or campaigns that have emotionally moved people, created significant social impact, or went viral.


  • New model New

    For the new business model. This award recognises a company that has developed an elegant business model which is eating up the market itself.

    WHO: CEOs, company founders, COOs, business strategists and innovation leads.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to highlight an elegant business model that is transforming the market.


  • Out of the garage

    For scaling globally. This award recognises a company’s global growth, expansion, and success.

    WHO: Company founders, CEOs, CTOs and international expansion leads.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries that showcase successful global growth, expansion and impact.


  • Pioneer New

    For the first to market. This award recognises a company that has broken into the market with a new product line never seen before, creating a new category.

    WHO: CEOs, CTOs, company founders, product managers and innovation leads.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that demonstrate groundbreaking, first-to-market product lines that created a new category.


  • Wildfire

    For conquering a marketplace. This award recognises a company that has made a significant impact on the marketplace in the shortest amount of time.

    WHO: CEOs, company founders, market strategists and sales directors.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to highlight significant, rapid impact on the marketplace.


  • Angel

    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.

    WHO: Angel investors, venture capitalists and early-stage startup mentors.

    WHAT: This is a free entry and will be evaluated by the public as the People's Choice award.


  • C-Suite

    For the best leadership. This award recognises the highest-ranking executive that has impeccable leadership, management and interpersonal skills.

    WHO: CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, COOs and executive leaders.

    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that demonstrate impeccable leadership, management and interpersonal skills.


  • Down under New

    For launching in the Australian market. This award recognises an international company who is looking to expand into the Australian market and build recognition in the local ecosystem.

    WHO: International company founders, CEOs, market entry strategists and business development leads.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to showcase successful expansion into the Australian market and local ecosystem recognition.


  • Ecosystem star

    For being the community champ. This award recognises a person for their tireless energy in organising, engaging and advocating to their community, business or network.

    WHO: Community managers, ecosystem leaders, network builders and advocacy leads.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that highlight tireless energy in organising, engaging, and advocating for their communities, businesses or networks.


  • Future builder

    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.

    WHO: Startup founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners at any level or life stage.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to showcase the grit and determination required to start and grow a new venture.


  • Game changer New

    For an elite athlete turned entrepreneur. This award recognises an athlete for starting their side hustle and turning it into a small empire.

    WHO: Elite athletes turned entrepreneurs, company founders and CEOs.

    WHAT: Judges will evaluate entries that demonstrate successful side hustles turned into thriving businesses.


  • Growth hacker New

    For the growth marketing experts. This award recognises a marketing specialist focused on the rapid growth of a company through data mining and experimentation.

    WHO: Growth marketing experts, data analysts and digital marketing specialists.

    WHAT: Judges seek entries that showcase rapid company growth through data mining and experimentation.


  • Hottest hub

    For the best community. This award recognises a co-working space that provides boutique experience, world class facilities with community management.

    WHO: Co-working space operators, community managers and facility managers.

    WHAT: Judges will assess entries that demonstrate boutique experiences, world-class facilities and exceptional community management.


  • Launch pad

    For activating the support systems. This award recognises an accelerator or incubator with a good reputation in providing the best startup program and industry connections.

    WHO: Accelerator and incubator managers, program directors and startup mentors.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that showcase a strong reputation in providing the best startup programs and industry connections.


  • Mind&Body New

    For the best wellness provider. This award recognises a business that provides self-care services or apps, retreats, getaways, gyms, clubs, tiny house stays and healthy retailers.

    WHO: Wellness service providers, app developers, retreat organisers, gym owners and healthy retailers.

    WHAT: Judges expect entries to demonstrate excellence in providing self-care services, products or experiences that promote well-being.


  • Operators champion New

    For the best in Operators Category Track. This award recognises the best entry out of all winning entries in the track that have displayed impeccable leadership.

    WHO: The top winners from all categories in Operators.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for the sole winner that can proudly represent the track demonstrating exceptional leadership, results and impact in their field.


  • Silent achiever

    For those that do the heavy lifting. This award recognises a person that has exceeded expectations, executed and delivered flawlessly projects from the backseat.

    WHO: Project managers, team leads, operations managers and product managers.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that demonstrate exceeding expectations and flawless execution of projects from a behind-the-scenes role.


  • TopCoder New

    For the cleanest code. This award recognises a developer with excellent technical skills, writing a clean code and being a team player.

    WHO: Developers, software engineers and technical leads.

    WHAT: Judges are looking for entries that showcase excellent technical skills, clean code writing and strong teamwork abilities.


  • Venture cap

    For backing the future business. 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.

    WHO: Venture capital firms, investment managers and portfolio managers.

    WHAT: This is a free entry and will be evaluated by the public as the People's Choice award.


  • 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.

Pause Awards launch on 15 May 2024!
00d : 00h : 00m : 00s
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