January 14th 2020

Emily Czupun and Ian Coates started up their PRO PET SERVICES business based in Thornaby in September 2019 and since then their business has been extremely busy.

PRO PET provides dog training, dog transport and dog walking services.

For the last ten years Emily has worked in the animal care sector and is qualified in animal management and Ian is ex-forces, a qualified mechanic, and in his spare time he works with gundogs on moorland estates. Emily and Ian had been talking about setting up their own business for quite a while but were a bit hesitant about how to go about it, where to get advice, and whether to take the plunge.

Back in mid-2019 Emily was managing a dog services franchise but was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the quality of the service being offered, that she came to the realisation that running their own operation was the route to giving the best service in the area.

After a few more conversations, they decided to move ahead and start their own business; where they contacted the Job Centre for further advice. The Job Centre, referred them to Five Lamps where they met Five Lamps, Business Advisor Simon Coe.

Both Emily and Ian were first to admit to Simon, that although they were fully confident in their experience and skills working with dogs, including Blue their border collie pictured above, they had a fairly sketchy idea of the key issues around setting up and running their own small business.

Over the next couple of months, through the Five Lamps New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) and Business Compass Start-Up 2 (BCSU2) contracts, they attended training workshops covering a wide range of issues relating to self-employment backed up by one to one sessions to develop their idea into a business plan, marketing plan and cash flow.

Although the workshops covered a range of information on starting a business, the follow up one to one session’s were invaluable in helping them to translate that knowledge into the specific actions needed for their own business.

Simon helped them through the process of registering as self-employed with HMRC and in September 2019 they started trading. As part of both the NEA and BCSU2 programme, Five Lamps will continue to provide support to Emily and Ian for a minimum of 12months, with help around tax returns, sustaining and growing their business.

The first couple of months have been both, very busy, and very satisfying with a fairly steep learning curve. In particular their dog transport and dog training services are growing considerably faster than they originally projected.

Emily and Ian are clear that

“Without Five Lamps behind us it would have taken us significantly longer to get started. That support and the framework of the NEA and BCSU2 programmes gave us the confidence to jump in.”

Business Compass Start-up 2 is a regional enterprise start up project that is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  This is a business start-up project being delivered across Tees Valley to assist potential entrepreneurs to become enterprise-ready and ultimately self-employed. The New Enterprise Allowance is a DWP contract for people on Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or lone parent income support.

For more information on Pro Pet services, please visit –