CHARLES GRAHAM - Salute our business award stars

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CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners, indeed all the finalists, who shone at last Friday’s Wigan Business Awards.

Anyone who can make a success of a company in the current economic climate is a hero in my book.

The variety of high achievers was encouragingly wide, whether it be stupendously successful meter-reading firm Lowri Beck, the amazing entrepreneur Colin Stevens’s rapidly-growing Better Bathrooms empire, or the community aid firm Compassion in Action (pictured) which also has far to go.

No one is under any illusion as to how tough things are out there, and it must feel like you are going against the grain and even common sense to invest when there is a perceived drop-off in demand.

But innovation and bravery can be surprising keys to success in the most difficult of times.

Congratulations, for instance, to those firms like D&J Fabrications which have held their nerve and continued taking on apprentices when others have been too frightened or short-termist to see the value of such long-term skill investments.

After a year which has seen the demise of the once mighty JJB Sports it is heartening to know that it is far from all gloom and doom on the Wigan business scene.