Sustainable leg prostheses, affordable for all

The funding chain forged from the Gebert Rüf Foundation’s First Ventures programme and BRIDGE Proof of Concept enables sustainable innovations.

It all started 2018 with a bachelor’s thesis in industrial design at Zurich University of the Arts: Simon Oschwald and Fabian Engel recognised the social potential of an affordable leg prosthesis made from recycled plastic, because the need is great in many low-income countries. Together they founded the start-up Circleg and began looking for funding for research and development immediately after graduating. An important initial financial boost was provided by the Gebert Rüf Foundation. Under the First Ventures programme, the Foundation supports entrepreneurial students from universities of applied sciences with 150,000 francs, but also with an individually tailored coaching programme. Thanks to support from BRIDGE Proof of Concept – a joint programme by the SNSF and Innosuisse – Oschwald and Engel were able to bring the prosthesis to series and market maturity three years later. Finally, Circleg also benefited from Innosuisse’s start-up coaching offer. In the meantime, the start-up consists of a dedicated team of twelve people whose passion remains the high-quality provision of sustainably and locally produced prostheses. Circleg also actively works to reduce the stigma of amputation in society.

  • Gebert Rüf Stiftung: «First Ventures»

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    With the First Ventures programme, Gebert Rüf Stiftung supports entrepreneurial students from universities of applied sciences who want to bring their innovation projects to market just after completing their Bachelor's or Master's degree. Financial contributions of up to a maximum of CHF 150,000 and an individually tailored coaching programme pave the way to founding one's own start-up. Grant applications can be submitted on one of the quarterly deadlines (1 February, 1 May, 1 September, 1 December).

  • Is BRIDGE Proof of Concept for me?

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    I am a young researcher and have an idea for developing my results into a social or commercial innovation. I am looking for the opportunity to test and refine my idea.

    • My Swiss research institution will support me for the duration of the project;
    • I have gained research experience during my bachelor’s or master’s degree (either one of them obtained within the last four years); or
    • I have completed my PhD within the last four years or will do so in the next six months;
    • I am submitting my application as an individual.