Cool Company Awards

Cool Companies manage to stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are organisations that aspire to be admired. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are… cool!

2014 Winners, Finalists & Other Accolades
2015 Dates & Deadlines
Process & Procedure
Benefits of Entry
Categories

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What’s the process?

Step #1: Nomination phase

This is your chance to self-nominate or nominate another company. This stage is simply about nominating a deserving company or letting us know that your company would like to get involved. To nominate your company or another company, simply provide your name, your email, the name of the company you wish to nominate (including basic contact details), as instructed online. Self-nominations are welcome. (We love tall-poppies!) Nominate your own organisation or another cool company. CLICK HERE.

Step #2: Application form

Nominees will be sent an email or letter alerting them to their nomination. Nominees will be invited to apply online, via an email directing them to an application website. Applicants will be invited to enter one of more of eight categories presented. To determine which category best reflects the applicant company’s circumstances, check out the criteria below. Each company may enter more than one category. However, each nomination attracts an administration fee of $49. This fee exists to cover administration costs and to deter inappropriate entries.

Step #3: Judging

Applications will be assessed by an independent judging panel, including but not exclusive to experts in business development, venture capital, intellectual property and industrial design, in addition to serial entrepreneurs and representatives from Anthill and sponsor organisations. Judges will be required to declare a conflict of interest, if necessary. If the applicant company is not selected as a Finalist, the contact representative of the applicant company will be alerted by email.

Date & Deadlines

To nominate you organisation for 2015, click here.

Dates and deadlines coming soon.

Why should I enter my organisation?

The Australian Anthill Cool Company Awards are extremely egalitarian. Previous winners have included two-person start-ups, not-for-profit social enterprises, large private companies and publicly-listed corporations.

In 2008, we also introduced the Big Kahuna Award to recognise ‘cool corporates’ (companies with 100 employees or more) and the Online Business Award to recognise companies that are building businesses via the internet.

Winners, Finalists, Honourable Mentions and Top 50 participants will be presented with an official Cool Company Award logo for placement on corporate materials. Finalists and winners will also be presented with an award plaque and/or trophy.

Aside from the great publicity and accolades, many past applicants have relayed back to us that the award process itself provides an excellent opportunity for entrants to self-reflect and identify their strengths and cultural attributes.

Anthill uses the award process to uncover and identify inspiring stories and unconventional opinions, from within and beyond the winners circle. We rely on your applications to feed editorial content and identify Australia’s most exciting innovations and promising companies for future articles.

What are the costs / application fees?

Innovation Award – $49.00 (inc. GST)
Global Growth Award – $49.00 (inc. GST)
Social Capitalist Award – FREE
Micro-Business Award – $49.00 (inc. GST)
Online Business Award – $49.00 (inc. GST)
Big Kahuna Award – $99.00 (inc. GST)
X-Factor Award – $49.00 (inc. GST)
Number ‘Crusher’ Award – $49.00 (inc. GST) [NEW]
Mobile Business Award – $49.00 (inc. GST) [NEW]
Savvy Service Provider Award – $49.00 (inc. GST) [NEW]

Why the fees?

We impose a fee on entries for two reasons:

To discourage time-wasters, whingers and also-rans:

This might sound harsh but the introduction of a nominal fee helps us maintain the quality of entries. It forces prospective entrants to realistically question their chances of selection.

Unlike our 30under30 Awards (which recognises young individuals) or our Smart 100 (which recognises innovative products), this program is designed to reward innovative and commercially creative ‘companies’ and ‘businesses’.

If your company or business is not in a position to afford the $49 application fee, we suggest that you re-consider entering, until your organisation has grown a little bigger (for both our sakes).

To help us continually improve the awards:

Our goal has always been to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia. Managing any initiative with these goals in mind is a costly exercise. Your application fees allow us to continually build on and improve the awards.

It’s as simple as that.

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What are the award categories?

Innovation Award:

We define innovation as the ability to create, nurture and develop game-changing or pattern-breaking ideas — this can be a new solution to an existing problem or a startling new business or operational model. The Innovation Award will be awarded to any business that – through being novel, unique or different — generates a dramatic improvement over current conventional solutions. The originality and strength of an organisation’s ‘big idea’ and/or business model will be the main focus for judging.

Global Growth Award:

Taking on the world market is invariably ‘cool’. The Global Growth Award will be awarded to an Australian company that has achieved outstanding global growth or demonstrated the potential to expand outside of its traditional boundaries and grow globally, through innovative or entrepreneurial means. The winner will be able to demonstrate the value of ‘clever thinking’ to global expansion.

Social Capitalist Award:

Social Capitalists successfully apply commercial principles to social issues. The winner of the Social Capitalist Award will have demonstrated the ability to address a targeted social need in an organised, innovative and entrepreneurial way. Judges will be looking for sustainable success in tackling a social issue while maintaining revenue growth, or experiencing commercial success as a result.

Micro-Business Award:

There are over 800,000 micro-businesses operating in Australia and we understand how hard it is to stand out from the crowd. The winner of the Micro Business Award will have no more than four (4) full-time employees. The winner will have built a market presence that is disproportionate to its relative size, through creative or entrepreneurial means.

X-Factor Award:

Some businesses just have something that no one can describe but almost everyone can sense. The X-Factor Award will be awarded to the company that demonstrates extraordinary levels of innovative, entrepreneurial and creative flair. The winner of this particularly subjective award will be assessed against the vision, strategy and execution of its exceptionally cool business product and/or service. Judges will apply their own beliefs and attitudes toward the concept of ‘cool’ when evaluating the X-Factor.

Number ‘Crusher’ Award:

This gong will be awarded to any community, training program, directory or marketplace (online or offline) that has experienced explosive growth and/or demonstrated a significant impact within and/or beyond its target area of influence.

Mobile Business Award:

This gong will be awarded to any mobile app, device or technology that is novel, has experienced or demonstrates a significant commercial potential, or the potential to have great impact on its target audience or the broader community.

Online Business Award:

The internet has forced modern companies to re-think established business functions, from marketing and distribution to human resources and project management. This award was developed to recognise Australian businesses that are harnessing online models to achieve positive commercial outcomes. Judges will consider the novelty and/or innovative nature of the business model in the Australian marketplace.

Big Kahuna Award:

Just because you’re big doesn’t mean that you’re no longer cool. This category will recognise companies with 100 or more employees and will consider initiatives to promote positive employee/employer relations, programs to support environmental and sustainable business practices, the strength of the organisation’s brand among its target market, the history of the organisation and its ability to overcome challenges and its contribution to Australian culture and Australian communities.

Coolest Company Award:

The Coolest Company Award will be selected from one of the eight Category Winners. The Coolest Company will have demonstrated success by doing things differently or defying convention to bring about positive change.

What are the award criteria?

Award applications will be assessed by an independent judging panel, including but not exclusive to experts in business development, venture capital, intellectual property and industrial design, in addition to serial entrepreneurs and representatives from sponsor organisations. Judges will be required to declare a conflict of interest, if necessary.

The following six criteria apply to all award categories.

Innovation

  • The company has demonstrated inventiveness and originality through the application of a ‘big idea’ and/or business model.
  • The company has dramatically improved upon an existing process or has solved a common customer problem.
  • The company has demonstrated the commercial success of its innovation or has demonstrated a high probability of its imminent commercial success.
  • The company is creating a culture designed to regularly create, nurture and develop game-breaking or pattern-breaking ideas as a function of business.

Entrepreneurship

  • The company has demonstrated its ability to consistently apply an entrepreneurial mindset to business decisions.
  • The company has defied the odds in some capacity, by overcoming obstacles.
  • The company has no objection to challenging the status quo and managing the subsequent risk, as part of company culture.
  • The company has demonstrated a clear strategy toward business development, involving an idea, the assessment of its success and the ongoing refinement of its methods and approach.

Youthful Attitude

  • The company demonstrated an eagerness to learn from its mistakes, as well as its achievements.
  • The company demonstrated a fresh approach to staff / customer relations.
  • The company adopted a playful approach to the application process.
  • The company provided a fresh and honest response to the questionnaire.

Reinvention

  • The company provides a flexible structure that promotes a culture of reinvention.
  • The company has overcome obstacles to achieve commercial or social objectives.
  • The company has solved a problem that others had previously failed to fix.
  • The company has challenged industry conventions.

Creativity

  • The company has demonstrated an ‘outside the square’ approach to business management, new product development and marketing.
  • The company embraces creative thought and the generation of original ideas as part of its company culture.
  • The company has demonstrated an ability to successfully harness and execute creative ideas that are commercially successful.
  • The company adopted a playful approach to the application process.

The X-Factor

  • The company has demonstrated a special or unique characteristic that in some way gives it a competitive advantage.
  • The company has demonstrated the commercial success of its special or unique characteristic or has demonstrated a high probability of its imminent commercial success.
  • The company has demonstrated its ability to stand out from all of the rest – to be the “only one” at something or “one of a few but the best”.
  • The company has an undefinable “something” in the eyes of the judge that is worth ranking highly under this criterion.

The following criteria apply to specific award categories.

Global Growth Award

This company will have ranked highly according to the above criteria, plus…

  • The company has demonstrated significant global growth and the ability to sustain that growth.
  • The company has demonstrated significant export potential and the ability to achieve that potential.
  • The company has demonstrated a high level of export sales as a percentage of export revenue.
  • The company has demonstrated a high degree of innovation in the company’s global strategy.

Social Capitalist Award

This company will have ranked highly according to the above criteria, plus…

  • The company has achieved a positive social outcome in a commercially responsible and sustainable manner.
  • The company has achieved a positive social outcome through innovation and entrepreneurial planning.
  • The company has demonstrated commercial growth and success while staying true to its social objective.
  • The company is proving that altruism is compatible with commercial success.

Micro Business Award

This company will have ranked highly according to the above criteria, plus…

  • The company has built a business disproportionately large, relative to its small size.
  • The company has four employees or less.

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Frequently asked questions

Q. Is my organisation eligible?

To be eligible, the organisation must meet all the following criteria.

  • It resides in Australia.
  • It will have been operating for more than 12 months as of the application deadline (unless you are entering the Online Business Award category)
  • It is more than 60% Australian-owned.
  • It has a valid ABN or ACN for taxation purposes.
  • It is not a franchisee enterprise (franchisors are eligible for entry).

Note: The awards were initially developed to recognise cool Australian companies (businesses with an ACN). However, some organisations that are not companies also deserve recognition. That is why we have made the several exceptions.

Q. My business is not a company (eg. Sole-trader, not-for-profit organisation). Can I still enter?

Any form of business is eligible to enter the Cool Company Awards, so long as it has a valid ABN or ACN for taxation purposes.

Q. My business is less than 12 months old. Can I still enter?

Applicant companies or other eligible organisations (see above) that are less than 12 months old are not eligible, unless entering the Online Business Award. We realise that a lot can now be achieved online in less than 12 months.

Q. My organisation entered last year. Can I enter again?

Organisations that have been identified as Category Winners in previous years can not enter again. However, Category Finalists and other Top 50 participants can enter again.

Some final tips for your application…

  • Avoid using jargon – call a spade a spade (not a multi-purpose excavation utility).
  • Do not use over-blown or exaggerated descriptions of your company or products and/or service (unless you can back it up by fact) – believability translates to credibility.
  • Be as honest as possible – we guarantee that sincerity will shine through.

Let the ‘coolness’ begin!

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