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MP for Mid Worcestershire, Peter Luff, joined Michael O’Brien, the Principal of South Worcestershire College, local businessman Paul Johnson and new business owner, Lucy Howson, on Friday when they signed up to the fastest growing band of Business Champions across the UK, FSB’s Real Life Entrepreneurs.

Peter Luff, already the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Champion for the Ministry of Defence, was keen to learn more about the working relationship between the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and South Worcestershire College (SWC).

SWC’s Principal, Michael O’Brien, explained that the College’s need for work placements and apprenticeships was very dependent on a good working relationship with local small businesses and the FSB was providing some support for students who need to meet business owners and secure placements to help them into full time work.

Joining Michael and Peter was a very well established businessman, Paul Johnson, CEO of Long Marston based Johnson Vellen Total Vehicle Services and brand new business owner, Lucy Howson, who runs not one but two businesses: Vanilla Moon, specialising in bringing beauty therapy to you, and Offenham based Nick Nash, where she is the resident beautician, serving the local community with a range of luxurious treatments, from her state of the art salon located right at the heart of the village.

Paul, a specialist in vehicle refurbishments, has run his own business for over twelve years, following in his father’s footsteps, who also devoted his life’s work to the automotive trade. Paul said: “I started from the ground up; I know how every stage of our business works and how the different departments impact upon each other. My son is now in the business and is making a real go of it, so I hope that he will take the business into the next generation.”

Lucy studied at SWC for two years, reaching level three in her speciality beauty treatments. Until recently she worked for a large spa salon in Gloucestershire, but felt that she wanted to spread her wings and, though some friends, she says, think she’s mad to start up in the middle of a recession, she adds: “It just goes to show that if you put your heart and soul into something it can really work.”

Judi Brazkiewicz, Chairman for FSB Worcestershire, said: “All four FSB Real Life Business Champions have taken life changing decisions as their careers have progressed. Entrepreneurialism is a way of thinking and a way of life. Business ownership doesn’t suit everyone but for those who take to it see their efforts can really pay off.”

For more information about the Real Life Entrepreneur Campaign visit and for local information or call 01386 75032

Pictured: L – R: Michael O’Brien, Paul Johnson, Lucy Howson and Peter Luff, MP

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