Australia Day honours for First 5000 founder Peter Fritz

| January 30, 2020

Congratulations to Global Access Partners’ chairman and founder of First 5000, Peter Fritz who was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to Australian business particularly to information technology and communications, and to public policy.

There are four levels of the award with just 125 Australians appointed to the AO category each year. Peter was also appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1993 for his services to ICT.

“This is a great personal honour but also testament to the extraordinary efforts of many people who, over the years, have contributed to my success,” Mr Fritz said.

The First 5000 project is very close to Mr Fritz’s heart.

In a blog on GAPs’ Open Forum in March 2009 Mr Fritz said.

“The idea behind it initially came to me in 1994 during my time as Chairman of the Small Business Council of Australia.

“We conducted some research which found that of the close to one million small businesses in Australia, only a handful, 750 SMEs in total, were responsible for 85% of Australia’s exports of elaborately manufactured goods.

Scattered across the breadth of industries and amongst the depth of Australian small businesses eking out a living, there exists this elite group of genuine innovators and adaptors who will make the critical difference as to how Australia weathers this particular financial storm.

In practical terms, it is the SMEs that increase their revenue at a rate of 15% or more annually, which are the ones driving jobs, growth and prosperity. They are the engine room of our economy, and they have long captured my imagination as a group of kindred spirits whom I wished to engage with.

As a bunch, they are notoriously difficult to identify and connect with. For many reasons, not least because they are incredibly busy, but also because they are characteristically motivated by the eternal question: “What’s in it for me?”

Our First 5000 initiative has identified these businesses, we know what interests them and we’re finally bringing them together. Web 2.0 technologies now mean the online space is the perfect arena for such a gathering.

Through bringing together the leading five thousand SMEs in Australia, I am confident we will be successful in ameliorating some of our nation’s pain. In cooperation we can make a material difference to the livelihoods of hundreds of Australian businesses.

Small enough not to have been exposed to the worst of the crisis, but big enough to make the most of the opportunities presented by it, our top performing SMEs are our economy’s most precious resource.”

Ten year’s on First 5000 is still going strong and we look forward to continuing to unite mid sized businesses in 2020. If you’d like to share your story on First 5000. Contact me at