The world has never been short of ideas that can be used to create wealth. In fact, putting aside the troublesome problem of capital (and the closely related business management aspects of finding a market, practicality, advertising, branding and suchlike), there are tons of ideas out there that can be exploited for profit. In my view, one of the barriers in the way of exploitation of ideas is that there are lesser and lesser innovators willing to take the risk of plunging into entrepreneurship. And one explanation for this is that starting a business invariably involves a degree of leadership, a rare quality not always present in every human being. Arguably, in most parts of Africa including Malawi, the barriers to entry for certain industries are higher and wider than in other parts of the world. Which makes the job of the lone innovator doubly difficult, because one must not only feed thy family’s mouths, but taking an ‘organic approach’, one must also be able to overcome hurdles of all sorts, to firstly innovate, create a niche…deal with all sorts of annoyances / idiocy from taxation, employment + legal considerations, suppliers, corruption and imbecilic civil servants … and somewhere down the line turn over a profit to grow, or atleast keep the thing sustainable
Recently, I found myself wondering what the size of the Plush toys market worldwide is. This is following a documentary on TV, which I saw a few years ago about a factory in China that was manufacturing toys, including Teddy Bears. When I checked online with a view to sharing the link, I wasn’t able to find the exact documentary, but what I found (which was quite similar in some respects) was this:
It seems the toys market is one huge multibillion dollar market. According to Reportlinker.com (via PR Newswire), the global toy sales grew to $83.3 billion in 2011 from $78.1 billion in 2007. Similar figures are reported by the Toy Industry Association Inc, an American not-for-profit organisation that represents toy makers. Out of these figures $21.23 billion was the US share, of which $1.32 billion was for Plush toys. Another website that goes by the name Research in China lists 2009 global toy sales at $80 billion, an increase of 3.6% compared with $77 billion in 2008.