With so much uncertainty and negativity in the news at the moment, I am pleased to report on some more positive subject matter.

For this Friday will see the West Midlands finals of the Federation of Small Businesses Business (FSB) Awards 2019. The Awards recognise the best small businesses and self-employed from right across the UK.

From every sector, from every location and from businesses of all ages and all sizes. Regional winners will go forward to our national Awards ceremony which, this year, is taking place on April 17 at Royal Horseguards Hotel in Westminster.

In recent years, our annual awards have grown to become the leading celebration of the best performing, most innovative and most determined small businesses. What’s more, all small businesses and the self-employed can enter for free, whether they are FSB members, or not.

These are tough times

Last year, the awards proved a great success – the most successful ever in fact. It was always going to be a hard act to follow.

Yet, despite the extremely challenging business environment, this year we have received an even greater number of entries.

This alone shows the resilience, determination and ‘can-do’ approach of the UK’s small business community.

I am also pleased to announce that Worcestershire has ‘punched above its weight’ in terms of both the number – and the quality of entrants. Fingers crossed that Friday will see Worcestershire winners in a number of the eleven awards categories.

After all, winning an Award category is a great way for a local small business to showcase its achievements. It’s also a great counter to the doom and gloom we are all currently hearing, day in, day out, about the difficulties of doing business in the current, uncertain economic climate.

No mistake. Our small businesses are undoubtedly facing many challenges. Our awards will showcase that many are, also undoubtedly, rising above and beyond them.