Source: The Toy Coach/The Toy Book

Calling all budding toy creators!

The Toy Coach Azhelle Wade entered into a partnership agreement with Richard Derr and Learning Express Toys of Lake Zurich, Illinois to launch a scholarship program. Ten aspiring toy creators that come from a place of financial hardship will be granted full admission to the Toy Creators Academy, a comprehensive toy business program that teaches students how to fully develop toy and game ideas and how to pitch their creations to retail buyers and toy companies.

Over the past year, more than 50 students have trained at the Toy Creators Academy and have developed and pitched ideas to distributors, production studios, and toy companies resulting in distribution partnerships and licensing opportunities.

Wade, a toy designer with hundreds of credits on products created for Toys “R” Us, Party City, and Madame Alexander, calls upon all aspiring creators to jump into the business and “make it toyetic!” In addition to the Toy Creators Academy, Wade hosts the Making It In The Toy Industry podcast.

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“The toy industry needs this,” says Richard Derr, owner of Learning Express Toys of Lake Zurich.” We need fresh ideas [and] If we get one idea out of this, it’s worth it.”

For the past 25 years, Derr has built a legendary business that has become an incubator for new toy ideas. Hit products at Learning Express often expand to mass retail.

Eligible applicants must be over 18 years old, show financial hardship, not be current or former students of Toy Creators Academy, and may not be full-time employees of any toy manufacturing company. Applicants must agree to conditions in the scholarship application. For more details and to apply, visit Applications will be accepted until Friday, September 17, 2021, at 11:59 pm EST. Full tuition to the Toy Creators Academy is valued at $1,297.