Read Georgia’s story and find out more about Pudding – the sweet spot between organisations and their audiences.
I’d been coming to the Roundhouse for a long time for gigs and shows but the first experience I had as a participant on the young creatives programme was for the co-working space in 2019. I’d just gone freelance at the time and was really missing having colleagues and a sense of community, so I applied for the co-working hub pilot. The opportunity really spoke to me as a freelancer, and was also the first I’d seen that welcomed applicants over 25, the barrier for many opportunities in the sector. I expected to find a community of freelancers, but I never dreamt I’d come out of the programme as an entrepreneur.
As soon as I joined I found a group of interesting, passionate people. The project really responded to our needs, and became more of an incubator than a co-working space. I learnt a lot, and quickly realising I could make things happen independently that I’d been sitting on because I didn’t have the tools. As a result, my ambitions changed from delivering other people’s projects to realising there was meaningful change that I wanted to make happen in the sector. It afforded me the headspace to think more ambitiously. One of the Roundhouse team, Derek, ran a pitching session and that was a bit of a lightbulb moment – and the start of Pudding. The programme really built a confidence in me that I could develop this as a project if I wanted to and helped me to carve out an identity for myself within the industry. I learnt how to pitch my idea, and I also got a real foundation in understanding business development.
I then applied to the Roundhouse Accelerator to develop the project, as I knew I really needed support to turn the idea of Pudding into a fully-functioning, self-sustaining business. Six months later and I’m almost there. The programme gave me the opportunity to meet a varied bunch of stakeholders who gave feedback. Precious weekly mentoring sessions with Tina from the Roundhouse built my confidence in a way that I really needed at that point. Unrelenting weekly pitch practice, while daunting, solidified my business identity and vision far faster than I could have imagined.
The relationship with Taylor Wessing, who are a Roundhouse corporate partner, became invaluable. I knew I needed support from someone working in intellectual property, and Alice, who I was paired with there, has been amazing. She’s become a brilliant champion for me and Pudding. The organisations involved in the Accelerator programme are looking to support in a way that is about opening up the doors to a corporate world that people in the arts and creative industries might not have access to, and it was so refreshing to realise that this kind of advice was available.
I had no idea when I was at school that jobs like mine existed, or that it was possible to blend creativity, social change and entrepreneurialism.
I’ve been doing as much as I can to get other people into the arts sector, and spend a lot of time debunking the myths around the false binary between creativity and entrepreneurialism. There are so many people who won’t go into the arts because they haven’t been shown that there’s a route in for them. It’s not just a maths or business degree that means you can start a business, businesses are about curiosity and creativity. Having felt excluded from the world of entrepreneurialism, I think, has made me even clearer on the need for Pudding, and the importance of making ideas and organisations accessible to all. If it wasn’t for the Roundhouse offering me a seat at the table to explore business, I’d never have founded a business that exists to do this very thing.
And as for Pudding, I’ve recently rebranded with design by Jennifer Leonard. The response so far has been surreal and completely overwhelming: everyone wants a scoop! Pudding turned two in March this year but due to the pandemic I’ve only been able to run a handful of sessions so I’ve used the rebrand as a moment to relaunch back into the industry as things begin to reopen. I’ve developed three strands; one around the arts sector, one around cinema and one for corporates and commercial clients, each with different packages based on audience and organisational needs. Now that I’ve got a business that works, I’m working on scaling, strategy and efficiency. It’s been great to be able to hire other freelancers in the sector to work on Pudding, and grow the amount of work available in the sector.
To labour a dessert based metaphor, the co-working space gave me the ingredients for business, the Accelerator gave me the recipe to follow, and the last few months have been about cooking Pudding. Now that Pudding is out of the oven you can expect to see it served up at an organisation near you soon. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the Roundhouse!
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