Itâ€™s a bit of a Catch-22 for emerging industrial designers. Without a portfolio of products under their belt itâ€™s almost impossible to put original designs into production because Canadaâ€™s secondary industry is so miniscule. Still many designers donâ€™t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Instead they develop new concepts from scratch, source the materials, sub-contract the manufacturing and thus nurture a new design from cradle to working prototype. Itâ€™s a risky business since time and money is involved and there is no guarantee of success. Every once in a while a clever designer hits a home run. Two years ago, Matthew Kroeker launched Splinter bench at IDS Prototype: New Ideas for the Home. The wood seating system fits together like a jigsaw puzzle and was picked up by Jane Hamley Wells, a furniture manufacturer in Chicago. Last month Interior Design awarded Splinter a merit award for best residential seating in 2007. Industrial designer Derek McLeod is another regular at IDS Prototype. Because of his talent and entrepreneurial spirit his clients include Speke/Klein and Seating Systems International. Heâ€™s currently in negotiation with an Italian manufacturer to produce Sum, his elegant walnut chair, which he showed at Prototype 07.