Monaco has given much to Peter Kutemann, President and CEO of Dietsmann. It has provided legal and financial stability for his company, and a safe and welcome environment for his family.
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So, he wanted to give something back. Frustrated by the false impression that some outsiders have of the Principality, and determined to strengthen Monaco’s position as a soft power in the world, Peter established Monaco Impact.
He spoke to Monaco Life
about the legacy he hopes this non-profit organisation will leave and its exciting new project that will not only have an impact on Monaco, but on the world.
Monaco Life: Can you tell us about yourself and your relationship with Monaco?
Peter Kutemann:I have living in Monaco since 1984, when I established Dietsmann Monte Carlo as an administrative support office for our professional activities. We have always enjoyed very good government support in terms of economic and financial stability here, so our activity grew, and so did our staff and the importance of our office. In 1990, I became a resident with my wife. We enjoyed Monaco very much and we came to appreciate that it is a unique environment. It is the only country in the world where the majority of residents are foreigners, which gives it a very dynamic and cosmopolitan feel. It’s safe, it has a good a geological climate, and a very vibrant social life. So, I love Monaco, but more importantly as a professional, an entrepreneur, Monaco has provided us with legal and financial stability and that’s what you want as a company.
When did you feel the need give something back to the community that you had come to love?
We know that Monaco is the envy of many other countries, because it is the only one with a surplus budget despite no income tax. And Monaco has to continuously defend its status in the European Union, the European Commission, etc. Monaco has never been a hard power because there is no army, like France or America, but Monaco can be an important soft power. So, as a responsible resident, my idea was to help make Monaco an important soft power. It is a very good defense against envy, jealousy and attacks from the international community. I started Monaco Impact to help the Principality have a social impact, a soft impact, on the world.
We started by looking for philanthropic projects and raising money for them, but we found that raising money in Monaco was more difficult than we expected. Many people already have their own philanthropic causes. So, one of the most important aspects of Monaco’s social policy, initiated by Prince Albert II, is the protection of the oceans and bringing the importance of the ocean to the attention of the world. In order to support that, we teamed up with the Oceanographic Museum and the University of Monaco and we challenged IUM students to come up with an entrepreneurial idea, a business proposal, for protecting the oceans and spreading information about the importance of the oceans among young people. We were pleasantly surprised by the creative ideas that these students had. In turn, they have an opportunity to test their business plans with a jury of entrepreneurs (our members) and do some important networking. Last year’s winner, Lauren Coles (a Monaco Life intern), had the idea to use plastic waste from the ocean to make textiles. Through our contacts, she is now trying to raise money to fund her initiative.
You also have a mentoring programme?
You can do two things to help make this world a better place – you can either fund projects or you can give your time. We think that the time our members can spend in helping young entrepreneurs and students to make an impact is more productive than raising money.
As many of our members are experienced managers or entrepreneurs, we have also teamed up with the start-up incubator Monaco Tech. We know from experience with entrepreneurs (I am still one myself), they think the world will be quick to embrace a good idea. But that’s usually not the case; everybody needs a break. So, our members mentor these young entrepreneurs and support them by helping to develop their business plans, provide networking opportunities, etc.
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You have another exciting project in the pipeline, can you tell us about that?
Presently we are considering a third, very large social impact project which we will soon present to our members. It’s called the Nutrition and Growth App for Children, and we are developing it with data specialists. The aim is to collect data that will be used to determine children’s health initiatives throughout the world. Currently, the World Health Organisation has global standards for child growth and nutrition. But a child in Africa is different to a child in the United States, and a child’s growth here on the Côte d’Azur is different to a child in Norway. So, this app allows data to be collected locally and individually and, thanks to the algorithms, parents can see if their child’s growth is consistent with their demographic like country, race, etc. The app will also be able to predict growth for the coming years. And only parents and doctors will have access to that information. In principal, it is a no-earning model. The app will be developed and trialled In Monaco, hopefully, with the support of the hospital and government, and if it is a success, we will roll it out in other countries for free. This would solve a lot of child growth problems, and it will be an idea that has come from Monaco. So that is the soft power I am talking about
Who are members of Monaco Impact?
We like to have people that share the same values and ideas as us; people who want to give something back to the community here, to help generate ideas and mentor young entrepreneurs. One of our members is Irina Peterson, who is taking part in eXXpedition Round the World, a pioneering all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission to circumnavigate the globe, sailing through some of the densest ocean plastic accumulation zones on the planet to study plastic pollution. We presented Irina with a cheque of support on Tuesday evening. This is an example of a member who is completely in line with our core values.
In all, we have around 30 members, but we are looking for more active members. We would like, for example, a medical professional, perhaps a retired doctor, who can help with the nutrition app. We would like to expand our network.
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Peter Kutemann presenting a cheque to Irina Peterson[/caption]
What do you want the legacy of this organisation to be?
I want that it helps Monaco grow as a soft power. Monaco should not just be known for The Rock where people drive Ferraris and go to expensive restaurants and show off their expensive watches. This is often the image that Monaco has by jealous people. So this is a counterweight to that.