This weekend, the madness of Toy Fair season kicks off.

As well as our usual flurry of meetings, we’ll also have our collective inventor hats on throughout spreading the word about this year’s Inventors Workshop, and all the exciting developments we’ve got planned.

So if you’d like to set up a meeting with one of us to chat all things inventors, drop us an email or stop by stand E2 for a chat and a biscuit (don’t hold us to that biscuit).

The BTHA and London Toy Fair has always been great in supporting start-ups, indie firms and one-man band inventors and this year’s show is no different.

Proof of this is that this year’s London Toy Fair will boast the highest number of Greenhouse exhibitors in the show’s history.

The Greenhouse area is designed for new or small companies and despite it being a “change year” due to the Nuremberg clash, this hasn’t deterred those looking to introduce themselves to the industry.

“After high demand, 2016 will see the highest number of exhibitors in the Greenhouse Area,” Kerri Atherton, communications and public affairs officer at the BTHA, told ToyNews.

“This section of Toy Fair is designed for start-ups and small companies looking to make a break into the industry. Over the years a number of exhibitors currently on the show floor started in the Greenhouse such as Micro Scooters, JNH Europe and Accentuate.

“Book an hour in your diary to walk around the Greenhouse stands and talk to exhibitors. There is always the potential to discover something new before anyone else.”

This support for the industry at grassroots level extends to those studying the craft of toy design, via Toy Fair’s Student Seminars programme, taking place on Tuesday, January 26th from 11am to 1pm.

The seminars will once again offer university students from around the country the opportunity to hear from leading names in the toy design community.

“Student attendance has significantly increased in the last few years and we now have 120 students from six universities across the UK – there wasn’t a seat to spare in 2015,” added Atherton.

“In 2016 we hope to have more universities on board, targeting design students who have a real passion and interest for joining the industry.

“We have so many young, talented British design students and we think it’s paramount for the whole toy community to attract the best talent to our fast moving, highly fashionable industry in order to drive innovation and creativity."

Our own Student Hackfest will be returning as part of this year’s Inventors Workshop, so if any students or university reps attending the show want to find out more, do stop by E2 for a chat and the odd crisp (don’t hold us to the crisps).

So, take a deep breath, pack your comfiest shoes, don’t forget the underwear (I was bitten by that one last year – had to make a mad dash to M&S where I charged through the nose for a multipack) and enjoy what the next week has in store.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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