Weah and Jabeur take top prizes at Peace and Sport International Forum

Liberian president and former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah and international tennis player Ons Jabeur were recognised for their work following a packed day of intense debate with stars of sport.

The 13th edition of the Peace and Sport International Forum began with hours of intense debate on a wide range of current and topical sporting issues. Maher Nasser, Director of the United Nations’ Communications Department, hosted a conversation with L’Équipe General Manager Laurent Prud’Homme and AS Monaco CEO Jean-Emmanuel De Witt about how football can help towards sustainable development goals.

De Witt evoked the power of football to “federate communities”. The comments come amidst a backdrop of heightened discussion about the morality of the sport and the interest of those at the top of the game, with Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup contested on various ethical and environmental levels. Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast great Didier Drogba, who is now vice-president of Peace and Sport, contributed to the forum via video link from Doha. Mutaz Barshim, a Qatari Olympic Champion also participated in the discussions from Doha and spoke about the potential legacy of the ongoing tournament.

Discussions from the role of sport in conflict prevention to its role in promoting gender equality continued into the evening ahead of the awarding of numerous accolades at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo.

Weah was awarded the Peace and Sport Special Prize by Prince Albert II for his commitment to democracy and reconciliation in his native Liberia. Jabeur, a female Tunisian tennis player was awarded the Peace Champion of the Year Prize, following in the footsteps of sportspeople such as Rudy Gobert, Lionel Messi and Blaise Matuidi.

The Special Jury Prize went to the International Cycling Union, who enable female Afghan cyclists to practise their sport outside of their country. Elsewhere, the April6 Initiative of the Year went to Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation for Sport, the CSR Initiative of the Year went to Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès and the NGO of the Year was awarded to 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation, who work towards uniting opposing communities through the organisation of sports tournaments. Finally, the Institution of the Year was awarded to Birmingham City Council for their role in strengthening ties between communities through this year’s Commonwealth Games.

Speaking at the event, the president and founder of Peace and Sport Joël Bouzou said, “I am delighted that so many high-level personalities have come together after two years of the pandemic to reaffirm that sports offers solutions to the resurgence of conflict, division and hate speech.” The former Olympic pentathlete added, “I would like to thank the actors of the peace through sport movement for their valuable contributions and these rich moments of sharing and learning.”


Photo by Peace and Sport


MonacoTech hits five-year milestone: “We are creating successful companies and high-value jobs”

Lionel Galfré is clearly proud when he talks about how MonacoTech has fostered many successful start-ups in the past five years, and he is just as excited when talking about the incubator’s future goals.

It was during a recent open day and press conference that MonacoTech Director Lionel Galfré highlighted the successes of this incubator since its creation in 2018.

Within the past five years, more than 300 candidates have put themselves forward for the programme. Of those, 45 projects managed to make it through the rigorous selection process, and 20 start-ups were incubated. On average, they were able to raise between €250,000 and €2 million in funding, creating over 120 high-value jobs, half of which were created right here in the Principality.

“We can see the success of MonacoTech in these figures,” Lionel Galfré told Monaco Life after the presentation. “With the help of MonacoTech, 22 companies have been created in Monaco, and six were a Société Monegasque. The creation of companies and the creation of jobs are what’s important to us.”

Each year, in March and September, MonacoTech puts out a call for new start-ups to fill a maximum of six places. Sofia Fominova and Dmitry Aksenov were accepted in the most recent call-out with their start-up Net0, a modern carbon emissions management platform that helps businesses achieve net-zero carbon and thrive in a climate-first economy.

The pair say they moved to the Principality because it is a pioneer in sustainability, spearheaded by a Prince who devotes much of his life to ocean health, and climate change in general. Once here, they decided to join a community of like-minded people at MonacoTech. They have just graduated from the intensive two-month accelerator part of the programme.

Net0 Founders Sofia Fominova and Dmitry Aksenov, photo by Monaco Life

“The ecosystem at MonacoTech is absolutely incredible,” says Net0 Co-Founder Sofia Fominova.

“In the last two months, we have managed to triple our revenue,” adds Co-Founder Dmitry Aksenov. “What really made the difference is the structure of the programme – it required us to commit one full day a week to focus on solving the most important, most pressing problems in the business. It really gave us clarity, which we wouldn’t have gotten on our own purely because of a lack of resources. MonacoTech forced us to think about the important things.”

The programme includes one-on-one coaching sessions with external experts, customised workshops, networking with investors, government, entrepreneurs and industrial players, and access to entrepreneurship courses at the International University of Monaco (IUM).

“We receive a lot of mentorship on a weekly basis,” says Fominova. “We get to talk to the most inspiring people who love our product, and who introduce us to other interesting people. We feel like we have made great progress, and we can track this in the company growth that we have seen so far.”

Every six months, a jury reviews the progress of start-ups and provides recommendations. After 18 months, they become MonacoTech Alumni.

You may have already heard of a few: Carlo, the shopping app now in wide usage throughout Monaco; YouStock, an on-demand storage solution which has just expanded throughout France; YachtNeeds, an online marketplace for superyacht products servicing the Mediterranean and the United States; Pineappli, a certified “digital safe” for important documents; and KeeSense, an award-winning wealth management solution.

“These alumni show that they have been successful in finding funding, that there are people who believe in these solutions, and that they are ready to invest to scale up these solutions,” says Lionel Galfré, who has been Director of MonacoTech for the past three years.

A Coraliotech display at MonacoTech open day, photo by Monaco Life

MonacoTech primarily selects projects in sectors where Monaco itself has strengths: yachting, greentech/energy, medtech, biotech, digital and fintech.

“But there is something which is very important,” adds Galfré. “The human side. The team is what determines if a project will be successful or not. So, we have a very rigorous team-screening process as well as project sustainability.”

At this five-year mark, Galfré says MonacoTech has established a respected reputation globally, as evidenced in the partnerships its formed with incubators Capsula in Israel, APUI – IMT Lille Douai in France, and ACET in Canada.

The 2023 objectives for this government-funded incubator are to structure a network of local investors, to develop a mentorship programme with successful entrepreneurs, to strengthen the dissemination of MonacoTech start-ups in the local ecosystem, and to become a reference incubator in its targeted sectors.

“We want to structure and to reinforce our community of local investors, because there are real opportunities for investment with start-ups,” concludes Galfré. “Monaco has real forces. You can’t do everything in Monaco, but you can do great things here. And this is our strategy, to help our local forces.”


Photo above: Lionel Galfré, by Monaco Life 


What caused Monaco Telecom’s worst outage in 25 years?

Anyone in Monaco would have noticed the major disconnection on Tuesday, as a telecommunications outage impacted all landline, mobile and internet services for hours. So, how did it happen?

The outage began at around 2.34pm on Tuesday 29th November with services not returning to full capacity until around 8.45pm in the evening.

The problem occurred in one of Monaco Telecom’s main data centres, called Zone J, under the Fontvielle shopping centre.

As reported earlier this week by Monaco Life, works began on 21st November to connect Monaco to the high-speed fibre optic system Europe India Gateway (EIA), and will continue in Fontvielle until 16th December.

On Tuesday, the data centre in Zone J was reportedly disconnected from the grid for maintenance reasons, and the generator that should have taken over failed.

“We had to stop maintenance and urgently reconnect the data centre to the SMEG network,” said CEO Martin Peronnet to Monaco Matin (SMEG is the nation’s grid utility company). “The power supply was restored at 3:15pm.”

Services were slowly recovered, but fixing telephone lines proved particularly problematic because Monaco Telecom still relies on analog signal pass. It plans to upgrade its tech by late 2024 as it phases out copper.

Along with businesses and residential users, the national and public security services, hospitals, and firefighters were disconnected.

“We migrated the emergency numbers to functional lines as quickly as possible,” Peronnet said. “At around 5pm, the changeover was made for everyone.”

According to Peronnet, the outage was the worst the company has experienced since 1997.


Photo above by Monaco Life

A cocktail pledge for ocean protection

The unique pairing of the luxury Hôtel Métropole and the Musée Océanographique de Monaco via a signature cocktail has helped raise 2,000 euros for ocean protection. 

Over the past year, the Lobby Bar of the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo has been serving up a vibrant cocktail called Sea You at M, which features the exotic tastes of pineapple and coconut alongside a premium vodka and rose syrup. A virgin, alcohol-free version was also available, with litchi, pineapple and rose flavours. For every drink bought, the five-star establishment pledged one euro to the Musée Océanographique’s “Sponsor A Fish” scheme.  

In total, 2,000 euros was raised and donated to the Amis du Musée Océanographique de Monaco association at a ceremony on Tuesday 29th November.  

Sea You at M was part of the Hôtel Métropole’s wider Green Attitude initiative, which raises funds for various environmental projects. Reforest’Action is the latest cause to benefit from the scheme, and the hotel recently introduced two new cocktails to its menu: Rain Forest (Hendrick’s gin, Midori, fresh kiwi, kiwi syrup, apple juice and lime) for 29 euros and Green Forest (pineapple juice, fresh kiwi, cucumber and fresh mint) for 24 euros.  



Photos courtesy of the Hôtel Métropole

Nice to host final stage of 2024 Tour de France

One of sport’s worst-kept secrets is finally confirmed: Nice will host the Arrivée of the Tour de France in 2024, with the Champs-Élysées unavailable due to Paris’ hosting of the Olympics.

The world’s biggest cycling tour finishes in a familiar way every year, with the riders lapping the cobbled Champs-Élysées on their way to crowning the next winner of the iconic yellow jersey. However, the final stage will look markedly different in 2024.

The peloton will trade the Champs-Élysées for the Promenade des Anglais. It will be the first time that the Tour de France hasn’t finished on the streets of the French capital since 1905. The displacement of the Arrivée is rendered necessary by the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be hosted in Paris.

Nice is no stranger to hosting the Tour de France. The Riviera city hosted the Grand Départ in 2020 in a Covid-affected edition of the race. The exact format of the final stage has also been defined. The tour usually concludes with a Criterium event, but during Thursday’s press conference, in the presence of Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, it was revealed that the Tour will finish with a time trial on Sunday 21st July.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de Francesaid “The Côte d’Azur will offer us an exceptional setting from an aesthetic point of view. After Paris, it is the most recognised place in France amongst foreigners. Going from Nice, we will use this completely different terrain for the whole weekend, which will allow us to offer a firework finish, which will be formidable.”


Photo of Tour de France, Nice 2020 by C. Martino

Princess Grace Foundation reflects on a busy two years

From scholarships to the Princess Grace Classical Dance Academy, and the Rainier III Music Academy in Monaco to wider work funding paediatric centres across France – helping over 1,500 sick children and their parents – the Fondation Princesse Grace has been tireless in its humanitarian efforts during 2021 and 2022.  

Established by the late Grace Kelly in 1964, the Princess Grace Foundation is now chaired by her eldest daughter, Princess Caroline of Hanover. She led the association’s annual board meeting earlier this week, which was an opportunity for the Princess Grace Foundation to take stock of its humanitarian and cultural accomplishments in 2021 and 2022, as well as look ahead to what is to come in the future. 

360,000 euros in aid for children in need 

In 2021, the foundation handed 360,000 euros of generous funds to 1,508 hospitalised children across 62 French healthcare establishments, including the CHU Chambéry pictured above. The money allowed the parents of ill children to be able to stay with them, a reassuring thing for parent and child alike.  

Several leisure activities were also subsidised by the Princess Grace Foundation, providing entertaining distractions for young in-patients, from writing workshops at the Gustave Roussy Institute in southern Paris to fun and cultural outings at the Costanzo Hospital in Nice. The foundation even helped provide a weekly horse-riding programme for teenagers hospitalised at the University Hospital of Tours. It has also been involved in financing a vast decoration program at paediatric departments of the Hospices Civils de Lyon, which brings together several general and specialised hospitals. 

In 2022, work continued across the association’s missions, and the Princess Grace Foundation was responsible for a new wall decoration in the paediatric surgery department of the Lapeyronie Hospital in Montpellier, as well as the family centre extension at the Yves le Foll Hospital at the Hospital of Saint-Brieuc, which in total came to 58,000 euros. 

More than two decades of support for paediatric centres 

This work is part of larger scale donations of 1.6 million euros made over the past twenty years. The Princess Grace Foundation’s help has assisted in modernising and expanding 16 parents’ houses, the latest being the renovation of the parents’ house at the University of Nancy Children’s Hospital, which was completed in October 2022.  

The foundation has also been subsidising three paediatric medical research laboratories for more than two decades: two at the Necker hospital in Paris and one at the Debré hospital in Paris. It devotes 300,000 euros each year for these causes. 

Scholarships and cultural endeavours  

On the cultural side, over 680,000 euros was distributed in 2021. Scholarships were handed out for the Princess Grace Classical Dance Academy and the Rainier III Music Academy, and grants were given to local associations, including the Bourse de la Découverte and the Coups de Coeur for high school students and young musicians. Additionally, it runs two Boutiques du Rocher, which support local craftsmen and women, and the Princess Grace Irish Library, an active literary and cultural centre in the Principality (9 Rue Princesse Marie de Lorraine).  

For more information on the Princess Grace Foundation and its work, please click here.  



Photo source: CHU Chambéry