A ‘who’s who’ of leading Australian entrepreneurs and business builders gathered last night at Melbourne’s 24 Moons Bar in AC/DC Lane to celebrate Anthill Magazine’s 2010 Cool Company Awards.
The ‘Cools’ were launched in 2006 to help recognise Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. In addition to finalists from the Award’s eight categories and the award’s judges, the 2010 awards ceremony was also attended by participants from Anthill’s 30under30 and 5over50 awards to create what Anthill’s founder and editor-in-chief James Tuckerman playfully described as a ‘shin-dig and end of year bash’.
Winners were presented with “Australia’s biggest award in business — a 1.2 metre personally branded trophy bean-bag.” In addition to the formal accolades, attendees were treated to party games for entrepreneurs, such as ‘Pin the Idea on the Venture Capitalist’ (Ruslan Kogan takes a stab, top right).
Taking out the Coolest Company Award was Barefoot Power, an Australian organisation that is helping developing communities in Africa and elsewhere replace kerosene-fed lamps with its highly innovative and practical solar-powered LEDs.
The award was presented by Sue Tuckerman, the mother of Anthill founder James (because nothing is cooler than being nice to your mum).
“This ‘cool’ company [Barefoot Power] provides the poor with access to electricity and one very necessary tool for economic development… light,” said James Tuckerman, who performed the role of MC (Master of Cool) for the event.
“Five hours of sunlight will provide a lamp with one night of energy. The solar panels can also be used to charge a mobile phone, helping financially impoverished people maintain access to employers.”
Image: Wendy Moore, Savvy Web Women
The Innovation Award is awarded to a 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 was the main focus for judging.
Finalists: 321 Water, Soup
Hon. Mentions: Blink Mobile Technologies, b2cloud Pty Ltd, IntelligenceBank Pty Ltd
Global Growth Award
Taking on the world market is invariably ‘cool’. The Global Growth Award is 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.
Finalists: eWay, Sportsnet
Hon. Mentions: Bourke Group
Commercial Creativity Award
Unlike other categories in the Cool Company Awards, the Commercial Creativity Award recognises a project rather than a company. The project must offer a solution to a definable need and provide a clearly identifiable outcome.
WINNER: Chieftain Communications
Finalists: Forward Thinking Design, Change2
Hon. Mention: DC123
Social Capitalist Award
Social Capitalists successfully apply commercial principles to social issues. The winner of the Social Capitalist Award demonstrates the ability to address a targeted social need in an organised, innovative and entrepreneurial way. Judges looked for sustainable success in tackling a social issue while maintaining revenue growth, or experiencing commercial success as a result.
WINNER: Barefoot Power
Finalists: Living Fundraisers, Change2
Hon. Mentions: Your Defence
The winner of the Micro Business Award has no more than four (4) full-time employees and has built a market presence that is disproportionate to its relative size, through creative or entrepreneurial means.
Finalists: Chieftain Communications, Vulture Street
Hon. Mentions: Art of Smart, Puggy Island, Savvy Web Women, Back to Basics, Specialists Link, 03Office
Some businesses just have something that no one can describe but almost everyone can sense. The X-Factor Award is awarded to a company that demonstrates extraordinary levels of innovative, entrepreneurial and creative flair. The winner of this particularly subjective award is assessed against the vision, strategy and execution of its exceptionally cool business product and/or service.
Finalists: Pollenizer, ChargePoint
Hon. Mentions: E-Web Marketing, Art 4 Play, Global Surf Industries
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.
Finalists: Mozo.com.au, Socialista Media
Hon. Mention: Platform Networks, Kaggle.com, Hiddentalentwines.com, Eventarc.com, Energy Matters
Big Kahuna Award
Just because you’re big doesn’t mean that you’re no longer cool. This category recognises 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.
WINNER: Pie Face
Finalists: iiNet, Energy Matters
Coolest Company Award
The Coolest Company Award is selected from one of the eight Category Winners. The Coolest Company has demonstrated success by doing things differently or defying convention to bring about positive change.
WINNER: Barefoot Power