With the closing date to this year's BDI Industry and Genius Awards a week or so away, an innovative father/son team is being held up as an example of the diverse entries received.
A keen metal-detector, West Bromwich- based Archie Cole became frustrated by the poor quality of equipment available.
In 2000 he saw a gap in the market and began to handcraft his own tools in his garden shed, using traditional blacksmith techniques.
Also suitable for the home and garden market, the enterprise was branded Black ADA and, as demand grew, the operation moved to a factory.
However it was not until Mr Cole teamed-up with son Nathan, creative director at Birminghambased design consultancy, Holman Group, that Black ADA turned into a formidable business.
The association helped fine-tune design and marketability, and the fiveyear collaboration has seen new markets and money-spinning contracts unearthed across Europe for a tool range based in the Black Country.
Nathan Cole said: "Firstly we applied our skills and experience to introduce a strong design element to the tools.
" In the process of addressing brand values we developed a corporate identity and website, which has boosted the credibility of the Black ADA brand and made it marketable overseas.
"The venture has been an unprecedented success, resulting in distribution in Holland, Germany and Sweden."
The Black ADA tool range has been entered for the Industry & Genius Collaboration Award, introduced for the first time in the Awards' 16-year history to recognise collaborations between designers and manufacturers.
There are 12 more categories with six covering Places & Genius - architecture, landscape, conservation, urban design, green design and interior design - and six covering Products and Genius i n c l u d i n g jewellery/silversmithing, ceramics & glass, consumer products, interior products, transport design and medical products.
Bill Houle, director of Trigram Properties and member of the British Design Initiative, said: "The Black ADA award entry is a superb example of the wealth of talent in the manufacturing and creative industries that can be found on the doorstep in Birmingham and the Midlands.
"It proves effective collaborations between the two sectors can make a big difference to companies' bottom line."
Black ADA aims to take its collaborative work further and is looking for an investment partner to enable the company to move to bigger premises and produce the tools on a larger scale.
The criteria for the Awards is that buildings/places or design companies must be within the West Midlands area and all projects entered must have been completed between September 2002 and September 2005.
Principally financed by Birmingham City Council through its EQUAL European funding, other main sponsors include Calthorpe Estates and the Birmingham Design Initiative.
The deadline for entries is September 9, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Millennium Point on November 24.