A Vancouver-based, women-owned company that prevents 20 million plastic menstrual products from ending up landfills every year will be expanding its operations — thanks to funding from the federal government.
Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Mary Ng, was in Vancouver today to announce that Lunapads International is the recipient of $100,000 in funding from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy — a $2-billion investment that aims to double the number of women-led businesses in Canada by 2025.
Lunapads is a social mission-driven business that makes reusable cloth menstrual pads, period underwear, and period cups.
The company’s goal is to ensure people have more “positive and informed experiences” with their periods by creating products that are comfortable and sustainable.
“We’re celebrating Lunapads because part of the Female Entrepreneurship Strategy includes an investment in female-led or female-owned enterprises to help accelerate their growth… so they can grow into the international marketplace,” said Ng at Lunapad’s Vancouver headquarters.
The company was founded in 2000 by Madeleine Shaw and Suzanne Siemens and together, they have built a business that is creating positive social impact around the world.
LunaPads’ Pads4Girls program has helped supply over 100,000 reusable menstrual pads and period underwear products to over 17,000 people in 18 different countries.
The company is also committed to making its products gender inclusive for transgender and non-binary folks. Lunapads has created boxer briefs designed to provide leak-free coverage for every body type.
Over 60% of Lunapads’ sales are outside of Canada — which is no small feat considering that the majority of the company’s products are made within a five-mile radius of its Vancouver factory.
Keeping manufacturing and production local reduces the company’s environmental footprint. Even the leftover fabric from Lunapads’ production are repurposed into other products or sent to different companies to use.
The reusable pads and underwear are also keeping huge amounts of plastic out of landfills.
“One of our favourite statistics is thanks to customers using our products over 20 million pads and tampons are diverted from landfills because they are not putting a plastic pad into the garbage,” said Siemens.
Both Siemens and Shaw say they will use the funding to invest in more machinery and equipment for local manufacturing and to grow their team — something that Ng hopes more of with implementation of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
“Our objective is to help female entrepreneurs start up, scale up, and grow by accessing the global market,” she said, adding that only 16% of small and medium businesses in Canada are currently owned or led by women.
“When female entrepreneurs and businesses succeed I think that Canadian society succeeds.”