Business & Finance
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CleanEquity® Monaco (CEM) wrapped up its tenth anniversary edition last Friday at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. The two-day invitation-only event hosted 200 delegates and 32 young companies.
CEM was co-founded by Mungo Park of Innovator Capital, and His Serene Highness, Prince Albert, whose “unwavering support and encouragement” strongly contributed to the event celebrating ten successful years.
The conference opened Thursday, March 9, with a special guest, Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and Economy, delivering the Welcome Address.
Speaking at the Salon d’Or at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, CEM’s new location after leaving the Oceanography Museum, the Minister commented that the first CEM event took place in 2008, the year after His Serene Highness and Mungo Park conceived the initiative, adding that from the start, Prince Albert, his government, the Monaco Economic Board and Innovator Capital have been the driving forces.
“Over ten years, 280 technologies and companies embodying those technologies have been showcased since CleanEquity® Monaco was born and an astonishing $1.5 billion USD was raised. Kudos to the team and thanks to all those involved.”
Another milestone, as pointed out by Minister Castellini, was in 2012, when the Principality and Innovator Capital invited the Nobel Sustainability Trust to co-host CEM. “This really started the process of creating a cleantech fund, which had always been one of Innovator Capital’s primary objectives, to launch a multi-face multi-geography, multi-technology cleantech fund bearing the Nobel name, and this was definitely a project that the Principality wanted to be associated with.”
The Minister highlighted that Monaco has been able to provide leadership in this crucial sector, even though it’s home for only 37,000 to 38,000 residents but also the workplace of a further 50,000 employees, and that it faces the same environmental issues as all cities “obviously compounded by the challenge of our compact territory”.
“I am convinced, as is the wish and desire of His Highness,” Mr Castellini stated, “that everything that can be done on our 2 sqm will be done, but if we can do greater things, larger things, with his involvement, thanks to his personality, thanks to his Foundation, thanks to initiatives like the Nobel Sustainability Fund (NSF), I think this will be time and money well spent by the Principality beyond its small borders to tackle much larger world issues.”
The Minister was keen to emphasise that Monaco is not just a showcase, but “far more”, with an ability to host investment vehicles for families and institutions to invest in solutions.
“I have seen so many great people and great ideas pass through Monaco during such events and I always wondered how we could keep them here, or enable them to return to Monaco and consider it a base, or one of their bases.”
Part of the Minister’s answer will come in September or October this year, when the Principality launches its first Incubator and Accelerator of start-ups, a government-led project in assistance with the national telecom operator, Monaco Telecom, and its majority shareholder, Xavier Niel, one of the most successful and serial entrepreneurs of his kind.
“Together, we will try to make Monaco a base of start-ups in the telecom industry but I would want the cleantech nuggets of tomorrow to be born, raised and incubated in the Principality, as well as healthtech and fintech.
“Our reserve fund has ceded the NSF. We don’t have oil, gold, natural resources. We have a sound economy and healthy public finances. Our reserve funds have been built up on the basis of sound public finance management and budget surpluses over the last five decades and now is the right time to invest beyond traditional Asset Classes due to innovative funds and initiatives like the NSF. The fund, a joint venture with Nobel Sustainability Trust, has the express aim to accelerate sustainable technologies from the lab stage to commercial success.”
Minister Castellini’s sentiments were shared by HSH Prince Albert, who presented the CEM awards Friday afternoon.
Before presenting the CEM technology awards, the Prince discussed the ongoing commitment we must make to climate change. He touched upon the work of the Foundation which shares his name, the Paris agreement, the Monaco Blue Initiative, and Wood Forever. He also mentioned the success of Solar Impulse, which was able to develop technology while capturing the public’s imagination.
Prince Albert said: “CleanEquity has risen to the challenge of bringing together companies, finance seekers, politicians and media together for two days of meetings, and has worked for a decade to promote a vision of sustainable development.
“Since we last met, one of the ideas that had its origins at Clean Equity has become real, the Nobel Sustainability Fund. I’m delighted that the Monaco reserve fund has ceded the fund and am excited to follow its progress.”
Prince Albert handed out three awards, Excellence in the Field of Environmental Research Technology: AgriProtein; Environmental Technology Development: KDC Agribusiness; and Environmental Technology Commercialisation: Iceotope Technologies. He was then honoured by Mungo Park with the CleanEquity® Monaco Tenth Anniversary Award for his “extraordinary amount of time and help to make this work.”
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