For humans and their impact on the world
9 JUN – 1 OCT

Pause Awards will highlight businesses and individuals that are building impactful futures in various industries. We’re looking for successful products, services, people, ideas and campaigns that are leaving a positive impact in society and building a better ecosystem.

16 July 2021
24 September 2021
1 October 2021
22 October 2021
24 November 2021

Anyone in the world can apply for the awards, not just Australians! Pause Awards are aimed at startups, scaleups and corporates. Government departments, agencies, not-for-profits are welcome. Awards are not industry specific. You should enter different projects in multiple categories.

Here are the top benefits:

  • Apply from anywhere in the world.
  • Challenge yourself – compete with the best in class.
  • Build credibility with the Pause Fest stamp of approval.
  • Tell your success story to the world.
  • Invite to speak at Pause Fest events.
  • Boost your brand by winning a designer trophy.
  • Get featured in Pause Award comms.

A few companies that won in 2020.

templates/pausefest/images/Play-icon.svg Video 2020


Pause Awards champion people in the startup, scaleup and businesses that not only go the extra mile but are also entrepreneurial, driven by purpose, plugged in the community and create positive impact in the world through their business. All industries worldwide may apply.

Hammer Award

For nailing it

This award recognises a company's success – on their own terms – in the market. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

B-GOOD Award

For a good business

This award recognises a company that has done well for the community and the world through their commercial practice. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company, NGO, B-Corp.

Out of the Garage Award

For scaling global

This award recognises a company's global growth, expansion, and success. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

INDI Award

For indigenous, migrant and ethnic champions

This award recognises a successful company with its founders from indigenous or ethnic heritage that gained success in the market. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

Super Connector Award

For being the community champ

This award recognises a person for a significant contribution to the success of their clients or the community. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone.


For lifelong mentor

This award recognises an experienced and trusted advisor who elevated someone's career. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone.

Prodigy Award

For being exceptional

This award recognises a young person with exceptional qualities or abilities. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone under 30 years of age.

Creative Genius Award (NEW)

For smart execution

This award recognises a person that created and implemented smart and sustainable creative or business strategies successfully in the marketplace. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone.

Unexpected Twist Award

For a great pivot

This award recognises a person or company that has taken an unexpected pivot in their business or career. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone

Underground Award (NEW)

For early stage mavericks

This award recognises an early stage startup that has done well in its first two years. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startups under 2 years old.

I Wish I’d Done That Award

For sheer brilliance

This award recognises a company's simple and clever idea in a niche market. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Company.

Exit Planet Award (NEW)

For the best exit

This award celebrates the company's major milestone, the exit or IPO. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Who can apply: Startup and Scaleup.

Do You Know Who I Am Award

For the silent achiever

This award recognises a person that has been responsible for the success of their company from the backstage. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone.

Inception Award (NEW)

For visionary thinkers

This award recognises a person that came up with the transformative idea that can change the world for better. No implementation required, this is just an idea challenge! Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone.

Big Noise Award

For media cut through

This award recognises a company that has delivered clever marketing tactics. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

Circular Pioneer Award (NEW)

For making a difference

This award category recognises a company that is pioneering their circular efforts. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

You have Ethics Award (NEW)

For the right values in life and business

This award category recognises a company that is promoting accountability, good governance, leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility and solving societal problems. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

Work Sweet Work Award (NEW)

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. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

Going Green Award (NEW)

For delivering impact and 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. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

Inside Out Award (NEW)

For unlocking hidden potential

This award recognises a person that unlocks innovation potential inside the company to deliver new value and change the world. Awarding: Individual. Who can apply: Anyone.

Defiant Ones Award (NEW)

For new tech breakthroughs

This award recognises a company that defines the future of the industry they play in. Awarding: Company. Who can apply: Startup, Scaleup, Corporate.

The Hall of Fame

For future builders

This award recognises a game-changer who paved the way by breaking new grounds and inventing new categories. Awarding: Individual. Internally decided.


2018 Winner
Unexpected Twist

“Well it a) made me laugh when I read it and b) made me feel a lot prouder than any other award I've received. So thank you! I'm honoured.”
Cyan Ta'eed, Founder, Hey Tiger & Exec Dir/ Co-Founder, Envato

2020 Winner
Hammer Award

“We're thrilled to have been recognised among such impressive companies, and extremely grateful for the support of the businesses we've worked with, and the investors that backed them in a difficult year.”

2020 Winner
B-Good Award
& Hammer Award

“We won a double whammy of awards. It was great to be recognised in this way as we really feel like we are coming into our own since starting out in 2006.”


There is a lot happening unders the surface than what you may think. Meet the Pause Awards 2020
winners: smart, pioneering and bold movers on a mission to build exciting new futures.


B-Good Award: For a good business

illuminate Education Australia
SBE Australia


Big Noise Award: For media cut-through

The Sheet Society


Hammer Award: For Nailing It



I Wish I’d Done That Award: For sheer brilliance

Single Use Ain’t Sexy


Out of the Garage Award: For scaling globally

Studio Ninja


Roowi Award: For new and First Peoples

Clipboard Hospitality
Arrow Digital


Hall of Fame Award

John O’Sullivan (WiFi Inventor)

Baton Award: For the life-long mentor

Donna Walker, CTO, Allianz


Do You Know Who I Am Award: For the silent achiever

Chelsea Newell, Scale Investor
Soumya Indurti, Connect Labs


Prodigy Award: For being exceptional

Mya Ella Whatson, Treble Notes
Elliot Hayes, Smart Energy Group Pty LTD
Hayley Worley, The Sheet Society


Super Connector Award: For being the community champ

Peace Mitchell, The Women’s Business School
Branka Injac Misic, GigSuper
Michelle Mannering, MishManners™, Raine Scooters
Melanie Tate, Puddle Jumpers Inc
Elena Kelareva, GippsTech


Unexpected Twist Award: For a great pivot

Jeremy Flemming, Stagekings


Fresh Blood Award - For students with brilliant ideas

Katura Halleday, All Saints Anglican School
Monique Thorpe - The Green Roof Group, Camberwell
Girls Grammar School
Kate Ryan - Bio-Track, Camberwell Girls Grammar
pauseawards2021 oio


  • You can apply from anywhere in the world.
  • All fees are in AUD.
  • Your entry needs to be executed in the past year as of 1 July 2021. Max two years if you haven’t entered it before.
  • Global companies can apply multiple times from different offices. Government departments, NFP and agencies can apply.
  • Awards are not industry specific, they are aimed at startups. scaleups and corporates.
  • You can enter multiple categories with different projects to increase chances.
  • Individual entries need to be employed full-time or part-time for a minimum one year as of 1 June 2021.
  • Early stage startups under two years can now enter the Underground Award.
  • If you have an idea to validate you can enter the Inception Award.
  • For further information please refer to Terms and Conditions and FAQ's.


All winners in each category will each receive a free promo kit and digital certificate. Collectable and artistic Pause Award Trophy will be designed and signed by a renowned artist and it comes at additional cost. It’s optional.

Which artist? We are still working on it, but it will be someone you may have heard of, seen their art and they will be internationally acclaimed and awarded. We aim to work with different artist each year, so this year’s trophies will be super rare and collectible.

Some of the winners might be invited to speak at Pause Fest depending on the programming, others may get press coverage and all finalists and winners will be featured in our article on the website.



There will be two judging rounds:

Shortlist Round
Each judge will review a percentage of entries across the categories. The scoring is done on a 1-10 rating. Entries that score above 7.0 will move on to the Final Round as finalists.

Final Round
In the final round, judges will again give each entry a 1-10 rating. To win, an entry must have an average score of at least 7.0 and be the highest-rated entry in its category. This decision is final and binding.

In both rounds, scoring is done anonymously and confidentially. If no entry meets the criteria above for a given category, there will be no winner for that category. Judges must recuse themselves from voting on their own company, those who don't will be withdrawn.

Judging Process


Meet your jury for the Pause Awards 2021.
They are exceptional pros and come from some of the world’s most innovative companies.

Carolyn Breeze

GoCardless, Sydney


Joe Mayock

Head of Creative
Six Black Pens, Sydney


James Gilmore

Creative Director
DesignStudio, Sydney


Alexis Dallas

Snr UX Designer
Nintex, Melbourne


Damien Hashemi

Head of Design
ARQ, Melbourne


Sonia Clarke

Director, PwC's The Difference
PwC Australia, Melbourne


Damian Sharpley

Strategy Partner
CX Lavender, Sydney


Vanessa Toholka

Senior Product Manager
Allens, Melbourne


Melanie Rayment

Dir. Social Innovation Consulting
The ACSI, Sydney


Mario Van der Meulen

Head of CX Strategy & Design
Tribal Worldwide, Singapore


Paola Rocchetti

Art Director
Void n’ Disorder, Los Angeles


Katarina Bogut

Digital Producer
ACMI, Melbourne


Matt Gardan

Big Chief
Digital Native, Sydney

Rachael Shea

Chair, Design Program
Committee & Senior Lecturer
SAE Creative Media Institute, Byron Bay


Chris Jeffares

Board and Advisory
Cummins&Partners, Stomping Ground
Brewing, Ad Council of Aust, Melbourne


Rechelle Leahy

RegionalCollab & SBE Australia, Sydney


Anup Batra

Chief Growth Officer
Arrow Digital, Melbourne


Dave Scheine

Managing Director
Podium, Melbourne


Ashleigh Gardiner

Data & Performance Manager
My Muscle Chef, Sydney


Matt Taylor

Creative Consultant, Sydney


Danielle Mastronardo

Head of PR and Marketing
FINCH, Sydney


Jules Brooke

Handle Your Own PR
and She’s The Boss, Melbourne


Andy Rosic

VP of Product
5th Kind, Vancouver


Callum Fitzhardinge

Associate Creative Director
MediaMonks, Singapore


Peter Bray

Bray & Co , NYC


Hannah Nickels

Client Solutions Manager
Facebook, Melbourne

Ruth Young

Chief People Officer
Mobi2Go, Wellington


Will Hayward

CEO/ Board member
Private Media (The Wheeler Centre), Melbourne


Daniel Hewitt

Founder & CTO
FutureLabs, Melbourne


Suni Stolic

Head of Customer Experience
Squiz, Melbourne


Josh Gardiner

Gardiner Communications, Wellington


Laurent Marcus

Creative Technology Director
Leo Burnett Sydney

Julie Demsey

Coach, hypnotherapist & advisor, Sydney


Penelope Barr

Head of innovation
Product Lab & CEO
Allens Linklaters, Melbourne


Ben Ford

Head of Growth
Frollo, Sydney


Anne Miles

Founder & Managing Director
Suits&Sneakers, Melbourne


Paul Lange

Business Optimisation
& Growth Accelerant, Melbourne


Elias Proctor

FutureLabs, Melbourne


Giovanni Bucci

Director - Motion Designer
Void n’ Disorder, Los Angeles



$265 - Early entry deadline
$325 - Standard entry deadline
$395 - Late entry deadline



Designed and signed by an artist. Limited edition, collectable Art Trophy is optional. Trophy fee is TBC and includes postage and handling. Free promo kit and digital award certificate included.



The wildest awards night with Winners Dance-Off comp, Live music and surprises. 24 November 2021. Entry fee is TBC, venue TBC. Limited seats.

Winner Entry Fees


Pause Awards honour the future builders for their exceptional leadership and success brought by delivering positive impact, good business practices and smart tactics to enrich the society. Entries will be judged by the world-leading industry experts.

So, while each category is different, overall judges will be looking for:

Business success: what was the success in your business? How do you measure it, and what it means to you or your business?

Smart tactics: what strategies have you employed? And how resilient is your approach or the business model against the future?

Positive impact: a focus on the company culture, client or consumer satisfaction and community impact.

your success is our success


Get in touch with George Hedon on to talk about the opportunities on how to best engage, boost your brand and build thought leadership through premier award program.