Georgia’s Story: Celebrating one year of sweet start-up success

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on the women of Peckham Levels and their stories. Introducing Georgia, the super talented founder of Pudding, an post-event forum for audiences that ensures they leave with a sweet taste in their mouths…

How did your enterprise get started?

  • I’ve been a creative producer for the last ten years, making big ideas more accessible through culture, taking subjects from philosophy and poetry to climate change, philanthropy and poetry and finding new ways to present them to audiences to open them up a bit.
  • After working across the sector I noticed that it didn’t matter what the subject was that affected engagement, it was all about the way that audience were invited in. And in the meantime, organisations and companies were struggling to demonstrate the value of why their work mattered. To me, the solution felt simple, audiences needed to feel welcome, and to be invited in. Which is when I founded Pudding, a post-event forum for audiences.
  • After a couple of years of research and prototyping, Pudding launched in March 2021 with support from the Roundhouse’s Incubator programme, the Princes Trust and Taylor Wessing. As we cruise towards our first birthday this month it’s been so exciting to reflect on the change we’ve made so far and all the happy spoonfuls ahead.

This year’s International Women’s Day slogan is #BreakTheBias and celebrates women’s achievement and taking action for equality. What does this mean for you in your work life?

I’ve relished the chance to found an organisation and build our values into all elements of our work. Inclusion isn’t “a nice to have” at Pudding, we’re committed to providing everyone a seat at the table, whether it’s through our safer spaces policies at a live session, at our open-access facilitator drop-ins or as an emerging creative looking for support. The big shift for us has been moving away replacing “best practice” with “better practice”, and being ambitious in constantly improving our offer. Having been a freelancer I’m also acutely aware of barriers to accessing support in the sector, so I set up a weekly office hour for any freelancer to bounce ideas around about their next steps.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Pudding’s first event was at the Roundhouse on 5th March 2020, and it was a challenge navigating a new, digital landscape for events as a brand new format. We moved to online sessions, which became ‘Bring-Your-Own’ Puddings, and ultimately strengthened our offer as a result. We continue to offer these sessions to organisations where the approach is a better fit, and have a much clearer understanding of our value.

Name one female South Londoner who inspires you?

It’s impossible not to think of Olive Morris, the beating heart of the Railton Road social justice movement in the 60s and 70s. She did so much in her short life to raise awareness of racism and housing inequality in Lambeth, the ripples of which are still strongly felt today in community organising. Her fearless, tireless cheerleading for civic rights altered the course of South London’s history. It was surreal and exciting to see Google give her a nod when they dedicated a Doodle to her in 2020.

What do you love about running your enterprise?

I should be honest and say that I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I would have loved Pudding to exist rather than founding it myself. I’ve always been driven by the change that I think Pudding can make, which is enriching audience experiences and demonstrating organisational impact. Every day I wake up and get to work on this challenge, and actively contribute to the solutions I’m passionate about. It’s exciting to feel proactive, which is a gesture made in hope. Rebecca Solnit says that hope is about believing that ‘another world might be possible’. That goes to the core of what Pudding is up to, showing that other worlds might be possible, and I think that’s a driver for all entrepreneurs too.

And the most important piece of advice you’d give to other women looking to start their own business?

It’s the same advice I’d give anyone.

Aim for 100 rejections a year, and log all the things you apply for, from emails to people you admire for a coffee to funding applications, checking them off when you get a yes or a no. It makes you less precious about each individual opportunity, and focus instead on putting yourself forward for things. It’s a sneaky way of embodying a growth mindset without even realising it. When you reflect on the year, if you’ve hit 100 rejections, it probably means you’ve put yourself forward for far more opportunities than you would have otherwise, and hopefully means you’ve had a clutch of exciting acceptances too!