Sustainable leg prostheses, affordable for all

© © Circleg, Lucca-Leandro Barbery

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

It all started 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.