The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state, on the French Riviera, world-known as a tourist and recreation center for the rich and famous and run by the Princes of the House of Grimaldi since 1297. However it has not always been like this. Until the mid 19th century Monaco was more or less a fishing village, keeping independence because it was so inaccessible from both land and sea, squeezed as it is toward land by the mountains of the Alpes-Maritimes and with the rock of Monaco rising 141 meter above sea level and housing Monaco-Ville.
In the mid 19th century, the House of Grimaldi was in need to generate new revenue streams. The neighboring towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which had been main source of income for the Grimaldis for centuries, asked for financial and political concession and even for separation. To generate new income the Grimaldis opened the now famous casino on the Monte-Carlo cliff, opposite the bay from the princes palace.
The inauguration of the casino coincided with an expansion of the French railway system and Monaco entered a stage of economic growth. The climate, location and visual beauty of the place attracted successful internationally minded people and today Monaco has the world’s lowest poverty rate and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. Competent place management and a vision in tune with global development, especially in the period 1960s to 1990s, significantly contributed to Monaco´s success as a centre of residence and security for talented business people, athletes and artists. The crime rate is the lowest in the world and through strict enforcement both residents and visitors enjoy a strong privacy from media and paparazzi.
Today Monaco is known for its tourist industry, but with its high concentration of world class experts and talents, Monaco is striving to become a leading competence center for corporate investment and Private Equity. This will contribute to local and global economic growth, and sustainable innovation for the future.
The local business environment is reinforced by an international, high-quality educational system, providing each year the talents to provide more and improved services.
The principality used to be seen as a haven of bank secrecy and an offshore financial center. However recently it signed 24 tax agreements that have helped to get it off the OECD’s blacklist. The consistent enforcement of financial regulations in recent years and considerable efforts to develop a strong financial system has been praised by the likes of the International Monetary Fund and the OECD Financial Action Task force.
Next week, on Thursday April 11, Monaco takes a new step in the development as a financial center, by hosting The EDGE. It is a one-day forum intended to be an annual event, connecting worldwide entrepreneurs and high-profile investors.
The EDGE is designed to promote innovative and socially conscious business models, in line with the strong commitment of HSH Prince Albert II to encourage “the Global responsibility of Entrepreneurs for a sustainable development.”
The event is organized in partnership by the International University of Monaco (IUM) and the Monaco Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (MVCA). We in Bearing have helped by recruiting speakers and delegates to the event from South Africa, Sweden and Finland.
The EDGE will feature value-added seminars and keynote speakers, including:
Keynote speeches by world-renowned entrepreneurs
Sessions with ‘impact investors’ who focus their investment efforts on business projects with positive and measurable social/environmental impact
The EDGE 2013 Challenge featuring 5 young entrepreneurs sourced from across the globe to showcase their business start-ups and benefit from the experience and feedback provided by experienced panelists in the world of entrepreneurship
One of the minds behind the event is Zsolt Lavotha, the energetic chairman of the Monaco Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. He was interviewed on CNBC last night and the interview can be seen by clicking on the banner below. In the interview, Lavotha explains how Monaco is marketing itself as a breeding ground for young entrepreneurs through its ‘Edge’ networking program.