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Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star’s West Wales Business Awards, organised in partnership with Trinity St David University. This was an opportunity to recognise and celebratethe efforts that managers and workforce of local companies have made, day in day out, in order to keep going and prosper in spite of the very difficult economic climate of the last few years. Inevitably the finalists and ultimate winners of the various categories could only represent a few of the very many other excellent businesses and companies in our area.

Among those featured were factories which are part of huge multinational concerns like GestampTallent which has seen the installation of a world –class hot stamping line, one of only two in the UK, Tata steel at Trostre which has consistently met tough targets and reduced the lead-in time to start production of new customer specifications and Calsonic Kansei which prides itself on developing products at the cutting edge of technology, as well as local family firms such as Owens Road Services, Castell Howell Foods, Parker Plant and Shufflebottom and Positive IT, all companies whose business has now spread way beyond West Wales. But large or small, whether long established like Burry Port Pharmacy or more recently set up like Sosban restaurant and A Cycling, or social enterprise like Spotless Recruitment, they are all vital in providing employment and contributing to the economic well-being of the area. When all the razzmatazz of the awards has died down, let’s not forget that it’s the vision and hard work of the managers and workforce of these companies and many others like them that is essential to sustaining our economy.