Having fought off competition from over a hundred entrants, Hey Girls, a 'Buy One Give One' sanitary social enterprise tackling period poverty in the UK, is celebrating after being crowned Virgin StartUps Scottish Business of the Year 2018.
Over the past three months, Virgin Startup10: Scotland has been searching for Scotland’s best startup businesses and entrepreneurs, for the chance to win ‘startup can’t buy prizes’ including mentoring and support from a leading Scottish law firm.
Pitching to an all-star judging panel, comprising of a mix of Scottish entrepreneurs including Jackie Waring, Investing Women, Bob Keiller CBE, Scottish Enterprise, Leah Hutcheon, Appointed, Callum Stuart, Mallzee and special guest Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, all ten finalists showcased the fantastic breadth of startup and entrepreneurial talent in Scotland.
Hey Girls, founded by mother Celia Hodson and her daughters, Becky and Kate, took home the top prize and will receive mentoring, marketing and PR support from Virgin StartUp as well as the all-star judging panel members.
Hey Girls is tackling period poverty in the UK via a 'Buy One Give One' model: every time a customer buys a packet of towels for themselves, they also pay for one to be donated to someone who is struggling with these additional costs of living.
Having been a single parent, Celia understands first-hand the financial strain of buying sanitary protection when struggling to survive on benefits and recognises that the situation for women hasn’t changed in twenty years, leaving her with the decision that something had to be done.
Commenting on the achievement, Celia Hodson founder of Hey Girls, said: "We’re thrilled to have been crowned Virgin StartUps Scottish Business of the Year 2018.
“It’s crazy to think that we’ve achieved this success having only just launched in January.
“We hope that having access to Virgin StartUp will ultimately have direct benefits in helping the Hey Girls brand expand thanks to the additional mentoring and business advice.”
Jackie Waring, the founder & CEO of Investing Women, added: “It was very difficult to choose an overall winner; each finalist gave a compelling pitch.
“Hey Girls demonstrated the real effect their social enterprise is already making in just a few months and I don’t doubt we’re going to see more great things from them in the future.”
Business and Innovation Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Hey Girls is an incredible example of innovative, socially conscious entrepreneurship and will be an inspiration to other new start-ups throughout Scotland.
“Scotland’s future economic success lies in the strength of our SMEs, and – like Virgin StartUp – the Scottish Government is committed to supporting a diverse and vibrant entrepreneurial culture through Scotland CAN DO.
The Top 10 in full:
arbnco – a building simulation company working with Scottish academia to reduce Co2 emissions
CogniHealth – improving the quality of life of all those affected by dementia by developing products that provide personalised and targeted information and solutions
Esker Spirits – an artisan gin distillery producing multi-award winning spirits that deliver a real taste experience
Good-Loop – an ethical ad-choice alternative to ad-blocking
Hey Girls – a Buy One Give One sanitary social enterprise that is tackling Period Poverty in the UK
Highland Wireless & IT Solutions Ltd – provides superfast broadband to rural and poor internet connectivity areas
Paulin – a multi-disciplinary design studio creating and retailing watches and accessories globally
Pixey – an online marketplace for finding, and licensing, real-time Instagram images and video
Revive Eco Ltd – a waste rejuvenation eco-prise, extracting high value oils and creating a soil conditioner from used coffee grounds
Sustainability – allowing customers to give to causes they care about every day by rounding up cashless transactions to the nearest £1 every time you shop