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This is how we celebrate innovation champions

15 December, 2021
This is how we celebrate innovation champions | News | Pause Awards
Nikita Lamba
15 December, 2021
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The 2021 Pause Awards Night may have concluded months ago, but we’re still reeling high from that unforgettable evening.

And while some of you were there to share that experience, some of you missed out – but fret not – we’ve got the lowdown on the night, ready for recap.

In anticipation of this year’s celebrations, we thought it’d be best to run through the highlights of last year.

We’re so proud of the community we’re building, and it’s amazing to see the standard of innovation coming out of Australian businesses year after year. Pause Awards 2021 met some extraordinary milestones that show just how strong the Australian startup ecosystem is growing to become. We had our first ever quadruple award winner with Mr Yum getting the massive recognition they deserve, Ovira and Heaps Normal both managed to win three awards each, and there were six more companies that went home with double awards. Talk about having your hands full!

Pause Awards 2021 event hosts and MCs
Pause Awards 2021 MC's Jeanette Cheah and Garry Williams

In addition to all of that, 2021 saw a mighty 167 entries, almost double that of the previous year, judged by 45 judges in round one, with 5 judges in the finals. These judges were experts in their field, and the decisions were driven by a judging board, including a chair, to ensure utmost fairness to nominees. This board included Lee Tonitto (Managing Director, Tonitto and Partners), Sonia Clarke (Director, Future of Work, PwC), Tom Leyden (Global Leader of IT, Woods Bagot), Christina Gerakiteys (Co-CEO, SingularityU Australia), and Ben Ford (Head of Growth, Frollo). And for the stellar job that they did, we’ve decided to bring them on for 2022 as well!

Coming to the company make-up that we witnessed at the awards last year – we nearly had an even gender split, with 59% being male and 41% being female. The average founder age was 37 and the average funding raised by our entrants was a whopping $17M. The top 5 industries of our entrants represented were computer tech (software), financial services, food & beverages, consumer goods, and education.

“Pause Awards is such a great celebration of entrepreneurship, creativity and business right here in Australia. We’re just really proud to be a part of it.”

David McLaughlin, Bodd Technologies

Presented by OVHcloud, our Hall of Fame award for 2021 was awarded to Prof. Martin Green. Prof. Green and his team created the solar energy cells that power nearly three-quarters of solar panels around the world today. So needless to say, this one was bound to happen.

Pause Awards 2021 at Bobby Mc'Gees

Our last edition also witnessed the world’s first ever NFT certifications! These trophies were awarded to all 8 GRAND PRIX winners, with an option to purchase physical ones too. These beauties were created by 3D Artist Mohamed Bacosil, and were minted on Open Sea to hold future value for the winners. Designed by George Hedon and produced by United Make, the physical trophies for 2021 were moulded from fine grain eco-friendly concrete and came in charcoal, white, and grey, depending on which award was won.

As illustrious as all of this was, we can’t not talk about the venue where the show went down – the enthralling Miami tropical atmosphere of Bobby McGees – which saw finalists come together for a night of connection, comradery and some healthy competition, with 63 winners walking away crowned supreme from the evening.

The awards night could not have been made possible without the support of our major partners VicGov, Awards Night sponsor Blackmagic Design, and our Ecosystem Partner MYOB.

Networking at Pause Awards 2021

We’re thrilled to be bringing you the 2022 edition of Pause Awards soon, and you best believe we’ll be stepping out, all guns blazing.

For a full list of all our very worthy and amazing category recipients from the night, click here.

To be the first to know when voting and sponsorship opportunities are available for this year, sign up to our newsletter.


Pause Awards '22 entries are now open!
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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
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How to enter