A Benfleet dog lover is celebrating after her fledgling business won a Vodafone competition.

Emma Jane, who owns the Essex Dog Training Agility and Obedience Club, has been left overjoyed as her firm came out on top in a contest designed to give vital support to small businesses.

The Essex Dog Training Agility and Obedience Club will now profit from a bespoke social media marketing campaign on Facebook and Instagram, which will be shared across Vodafone’s social media channels to potentially reach more than one million people.

The business, which offers dog training classes in the likes of Benfleet and Hadleigh, will also receive online business strategy sessions with Vodafone’s V-Hub digital business experts.

Emma, who is also head trainer, hopes the competition win will allow her business to grow significantly after a challenging year which saw her take sessions online due to the pandemic.

She said: “My team and I are passionate about educating people on how to get the best from their dogs, so when the pandemic hit, we had to quickly adapt.

“Embracing online has opened many new opportunities for us. Not only can our team continue to carry out classes virtually, we are now able to service clients from across the UK.

“We also developed a number of affordable online courses for dog owners and have written a series of books on essential canine life skills.

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“We are thrilled to have won this opportunity with Vodafone and hope the additional exposure will help introduce us to a whole new audience of budding, dedicated dog lovers.”

The Essex Dog Training Agility and Obedience Club fought off stiff competition and secured top spot after impressing a judging panel which included Piers Linney, an investor on hit BBC show Dragons’ Den.

Anne Sheehan, business director at Vodafone UK, said: “I’d like to congratulate the Essex Dog Training Agility and Obedience Club, who were worthy winners of this competition and I hope will go from strength to strength as a result of this social media boost.

“While the pandemic has presented many challenges, the ability to engage with and attract customers online opens up all kinds of business opportunities.”