SME Categories – these categories celebrate entrepreneurs. They are the women who founded or run businesses and maintain control and interest in their business.

Start Up

This award is for new businesses.  The business must be within the first 5 years of trading.

SME Emerging

This award is for growing businesses which currently have ten or fewer employees.

SME Growth

This award is for businesses with more than ten employees.


This award is for SME businesses trading successfully within an international market.

Young Entrepreneur

This award is for business owners under the age of 28. The applicant should ideally be able to demonstrate not only their current involvement in a successful business venture but also specific involvement in previous entrepreneurial enterprises.

Corporate Categories - this category celebrates female leaders and rising stars 

Corporate Leader

This award will be presented to someone who has gone the extra mile, made a difference to organisational effectiveness, brought about meaningful change and led the organisation forward into the future. Judges will ordinarily be looking for women with 10 + years of experience leading a business and will want to see specific examples of corporate leadership, evidence of mentoring people, along with examples of community engagement.

Rising Star

This award recognises and celebrates the next generation of inspirational female professionals across the regions and in any sector. Applicants will typically be working within a larger or more established organisation and be able to demonstrate personal, as well as general, business progression achieved.

Joint Categories - these categories are open to both entrepreneurs and career women.

Digital Business

This award is for businesses using digital and online technology in innovative ways. The main platform for the service offered by the business must be digital (rather than the business simply using digital and online technology as standard business support).

Not for Profit / Social Enterprise

This award is for women who run charities or social enterprises. Women applying for an award in this category can be employed to work within a charitable organisation or social enterprise or alternatively volunteer a significant amount of their time working with such an organisation.

STEM Rising Star

A new award for 2017, this award is to recognise STEM professionals who have dedicated their careers to date to spearheading significant discoveries and making an impact within their fields. Striving to set an example to others, the award will be presented to women who have made important advances in their chosen STEM career path and are acknowledged as a future leader of STEM initiatives.

STEM Leader

This award is for women running businesses in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics sector. Applicants must either be running their own business or be employed in a relevant business. They should be able to demonstrate the positive financial impact of their role to the business in which they work. We are also looking for examples of how the women in this field applying for an award have encouraged other women to join the sector.

Inspiring Leader

This award recognises leaders in businesses of any size who have brought out the very best in their team and driven their business forward with exceptional results. They have typically 10 + years of leadership experience and are more than competent managers or business owners – they are women who have inspired other women and men, have an excellent track record of staff engagement and retention and are recognised as leaders within their particular sector.

Overall Winner

This award will be presented to the woman who scored most highly across the judging criteria and will be announced at the Grand Final.