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Hey Girls products are now available on the shelves at Co-op

The smash-hit social enterprise will be boosting their battle to end period poverty with a further £50,000 investment from our social investment arm Big Issue Invest’s Power Up Scotland programme

The period poverty-battling Hey Girls has taken another giant leap forward as its products hit the shelves of the community retailer, Co-op.

With a £50,000 investment from our social investment arm Big Issue Invest, Hey Girls Day Time and Overnight Sani pads and Menstrual Cups can be found in just under 200 Co-op food stores, marking the launch of the Big Issue Invest Power Up programme.

Founded by Celia Hodson with the help of her two daughters, Kate and Becky, Hey Girls sells a full range of period products on a ‘buy one give one’ model – meaning for every pack purchased another is donated to a girl or woman in the UK in need. Following the completion of the three-month Power Up Programme in 2018, Hey Girls were listed in both ASDA and Waitrose last year. They are also a major supplier in the Scottish Government’s initiative to provide access to free sanitary products to pupils and students in Scotland.

Hodson said: “Gaining a listing in one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, owned by millions of members, gives us a real buzz.

“Co-op customers selecting a Hey Girls product in store know the more period products we sell, the more period product we can donate to their local community. Box for Box. Simple – that’s why we’re different from all the other product manufacturers and why our values align completely with the Co-op.”

Hodson was joined by Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest (BII) and representatives from project partners, Aberdeen Standard Investments and the University of Edinburgh at the Co-op store on Frederick Street in Edinburgh to mark the launch of the investment programme for 2019. BII’s Power Up Programme has raised £1.4 million since 2018 and delivered over 1,000 hours of business mentoring.

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Power Up Scotland, pioneered by BII, funded by partners, Aberdeen Standard Investments, the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government, Brodies LLP, Places for People and Experian is aimed at enabling up to 20 Scottish social ventures to access loan funding of up to £50k over the next two years. This unique programme brings together the public, private, third and academic sectors to mentor social enterprises and to open doors through cross sector networks.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell said: “It’s great to see the social enterprise Hey Girls get the help they need to expand through the Power Up Scotland programme.

“Social enterprises contribute £2 billion to our economy every year, and by funding social investment initiatives such as Power Up, we are enabling the sector to grow. It is important that we continue to support our social entrepreneurs to tackle inequality in our society and create successful, sustainable businesses.”

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, added: “We’re really proud to have supported such a dynamic social enterprise. It’s fantastic to see how the Power Up Programme has made a crucial difference to social ventures, such as Hey Girls, which has enjoyed unprecedented growth since being founded in January 2018.

“We’re really pleased to be working with Aberdeen Standard Investments, The University of Edinburgh, Scottish Government and Experian. It’s a strong partnership, which allows us to offer even more inspiring social ventures with the investment and business development expertise that they need.”

Victoria Haigh, category buyer for Co-op, said: “At Co-op we know that period poverty is a much wider issue across the UK and internationally. We are proud of our partnership with Hey Girls, particularly as their ‘buy one, give one’ initiative aligns with our community values. We are delighted to list the brand at the Co-op knowing that the products will give back to the wider community.”

The Power Up programme will make £500,000 available to lend this year and is now open to organisations across Scotland. The funding available is to enable organisations to build on the good work they currently do within their communities. Whether it’s buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans. Successful applicants will also receive mentoring and business development support to social ventures for the two-year period.

Applications for Power Up 2019 are now open. Visit www.bigissueinvest.com/powerup to register your interest

Images: Jamie McFadyen

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