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Development Agency FDANews Ascenseurs Menétrey and GBY win the Fribourg Innovation Award – the Sustainable Economy Award goes to Bloom Biorenewables

Ascenseurs Menétrey and GBY win the Fribourg Innovation Award – the Sustainable Economy Award goes to Bloom Biorenewables

On Tuesday evening, the Canton of Fribourg honored its most innovative companies. Headquartered in Romont, Ascenseurs Menétrey won the Business Award, while the Start-up Award, in accordance with the results of a public vote, was given to GBY. This year, the occasion was also marked by the unprecedented presentation of the Sustainable Economy Award attributed to Bloom Biorenewables from Marly. The Awards Ceremony was held at Forum Fribourg and was live-streamed for the first time on the Youtube channel of the Fribourg Development Agency.

Every two years, the Fribourg Innovation Award is given to the most innovative company and the most innovative start-up. This year, the canton of Fribourg presented for the first time the Sustainable Economy Award at this event.

Business Award
CelticLift: an Elevator Concept inspired by user Experience

Ascenseurs Menétrey was presented with the CHF 10,000 Business Award by Daniel Wenger, President of the Executive Board of the Fribourg Cantonal Bank, for its development of a new generation of elevators that places the user at the center of an innovative approach.

To carry out this project supported by Innosuisse, the Company was able to draw on the expertise of three universities of Western Switzerland, namely the Universities of Applied Sciences in Fribourg (School of Engineering and Architecture HEIA-FR) and in Neuchâtel (HE-ARC), and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Three years of joint work have made it possible to develop the new CelticLift (Composite Ergonomic Lift) elevator. The elevator boasts of a new, more spacious cabin, re-engineered ergonomics and facilitated maintenance. In addition, Ascenseurs Menétrey is the first company in the world in its field to use composite materials, which offers significant innovative potential.

In selecting Ascenseurs Menétrey Ltd for the Business Award, the panel of judges rewards a collaborative project that this family business, managed by the 4th generation, has successfully brought to fruition. Founded in 1924 and based in Romont, Ascenseurs Menétrey Ltd currently employs 125 persons. It operates in a highly competitive market with a good number of international players. Ascenseurs Menétrey stands out in particular thanks to the development of tailor-made installations.

Start-up Award
The Judges and the Public vote for GBY – Go By Yourself

After the finalists were announced, the public had the opportunity to vote for one of the three start-up finalists. Those present at the Awards Ceremony and those who followed it live were also able to vote by SMS for their favorite. The winner of the Start-up Award is GBY from Vuisternens-en-Ogoz, which got the most votes.

GBY has developed the Go-Tryke, which is a “tricycle” equipped with two linked pedals, one for the hands and one for the feet. When the pedals for the hands are activated, the pedals for the feet rotate as well, thus respecting the natural physiological movement of the body, that of walking. Several studies demonstrate the importance of respecting this movement during rehabilitation therapies. The Go-Tryke is the only “tricycle” that allows for this movement. An electric assistance in the rear wheel is outfitted with sensors that support the user’s efforts. With the Go-Tryke, accessible to paths and trails, it is possible to combine therapy and outdoor sports. It is particularly suitable for hemiplegics, people with spinal cord injuries, amputees, as well as elderly people and individuals with impaired mobility.

The Start-up Award, endowed with CHF 30,000, was handed over by Fribourg Minister of Economic Affairs Olivier Curty, President of the Fribourg Innovation Award’s panel of judges.

Bloom Biorenewables wins the Sustainable Economy Award

Bloom Biorenewables in Marly was the recipient of the CHF 6,000 Sustainable Economy Award for the development of a process to exploit the hidden value of biomass. From wood waste, Bloom Biorenewables manages to extract soluble lignin, which is then used to replace petrochemical compounds present to a large extent in perfumes, aromas, inks, cosmetics, medicines, adhesives, plastics, and textiles. Often unsuspected, the quantities of CO2 contained in these products are considerable. In this way, Bloom eliminates the utilization of petroleum by recycling the waste of an industry that is well entrenched in the Canton, i.e., that of wood. It is difficult to do better in terms of circular economy.

The Sustainable Economy Award was presented by Chantal Robin, Director of the Fribourg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), and member of the panel of judges. The Award is attributed jointly by the FCCI, the Cantonal Service of Energy, and the Fribourg Development Agency (FDA).

Video to review the Awards Ceremony