Time to celebrate the very best of the West's business
So finally a golden summer draws to an end.
Children are back at school and the world of Westcountry business begins to crank itself up to full pace again.
After five years of relentlessly miserable weather 2013 has been a welcome – and very necessary – break for thousands of businesses related to tourism.
Guest houses, hotels and camp sites have been packed.
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Many pubs and restaurants have reported record takings and farmers have at least had a better than even chance of having a bountiful harvest.
Alongside evidence – and more importantly real belief – that the economy is finally on the up, businesses in Devon and Cornwall can begin to look ahead with confidence.
Confident businesses, with confident leadership, allied to confident entrepreneurship and confident investors will be the key to the economy taking large steps forward.
The latest survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce and published in the summer showed that business confidence in the UK was at its highest level since 2007.
The bellwether of economic upturns – construction – is certainly seeing the start of a lift in fortunes.
Yesterday it was announced that sales in new cars had jumped again, and there have even been positive signs of growth and movement in the housing market.
As things continue to look up there are great opportunities for businesses in the far South West.
In the main, many of the messages around the economy have been negative for too long. But now at last there seems to be real evidence of growth and the confidence that comes with it.
When times have been hard it is more important than ever to celebrate success, talk up the positives and revel in the achievements of those who, despite everything, are still doing well.
That is main purpose of the Western Morning News Annual Business Awards – the biggest region-wide celebration of excellence in the peninsula.
The South West can now boast a string of prestige developments. They include the Science Park and the Skypark development, in Exeter, as well as the Millbay regeneration and schemes around Sutton Harbour, in Plymouth.
But the South West economy has always been about a myriad of smaller, dynamic, businesses, rather than one dominated by corporate giants.
The business awards represent one of the best opportunities for those business to get their message out there.
This year they will be presented in front of the Government's Business Minister Lord Younger.
The Westcountry is blessed to have a base of businesses whose energy, ambition and innovation are helping to drive the region's economy forward.
We urge them all to show the rest of the region, and the rest of the country just how good they and all of their staff are.