A group of young Monaco residents are working hard to further the Principality’s values of wellness, sustainability and luxury in their innovative businesses. We spoke to the young founders about their experience living Monaco’s values and growing companies in a place that supports their vision.
Federico Uribe’s office had two racks of the upcoming season’s clothing, and a small pile of fabric samples that inspired the line. A mix of blazers, shirts, shorts and pants, it was clear that the young entrepreneur has a passion for fashion. Tan skin and green eyes, the native Colombian explained his family’s roots in the textile industry. His company, 209 Mare, values sustainability. Several of his pieces use materials from recycled plastics, like Seaqual or New Wave. The young CEO knows his segment, and explained why the 209 Mare brand has experienced recent growth:
“Even something like these shorts that are sporty are meant to be haute couture meets functionality. People in beach clubs, like in St. Tropez at Bagatelle Beach, want to stand out. Exclusivity isn’t only about price, it’s about having something others don’t. Our production numbers are small, so it’s very limited, although we sold in 82 countries last year.”
The brand focuses on menswear, although they did have a line of women’s blazers last year that sold out quickly. Two brothers came together three years ago to create 209 Mare. Federico and Gabriel Uribe, aged 32 and 25 respectively, are young entrepreneurs with a Monaco brand who, at its core, is high end fashion. 209 Mare, known for its towel fabric lined blazers, is perfect for a casual and cool setting, like yachting or a beach club. Their menswear line embodies Monaco’s identity of casual luxury.
When you meet Shanka Jayasinha, his commitment to health and nutrition is obvious and can be seen in his muscular physique. With family roots in Sri Lanka, he was born and raised in Monaco and recently started MC Nutrition after realising the current food delivery options didn’t meet his needs. He returned to Monaco three years ago after studying in Miami, saddened to realise that only pizza, pasta and salads could be delivered easily in the Principality. Shanka knew he could make a shift in the food delivery options available.
Inspired by research and mentors from his Alma Mater, the University of Miami where he was mentored by nutritionists from the Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins, Shanka wanted healthy delivery options. His athletic background inspired MC Nutrition’s goal to help people feel better in their minds and bodies. He recognised the psychological effects of negative body image, and wanted to create a healthy way to ease into a new lifestyle. MC Nutrition is almost like having a private chef.
“For Monaco, it is new. In the US you have a lot of calorie counted meals, meal plans for high performance athletes, and vegan options. I want to change the landscape of food delivery in Monaco.”
Shanka’s company offers both one-off meals delivered in 45 minutes to an hour, and complete meal plans, based on goals and dietary restrictions. Science-backed and nutritionist monitored, the meal plans can help people lose or gain weight, improve athletic performance, or eat a specialised diet. It is essentially access to a private chef, if you want to try being vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian, MC nutrition can help. Customers can have customised meals delivered as often as they’d like, wherever they are.
The website allows for making a customized meal plan, thanks to staff nutritionists who build the meal plans which are delivered to chefs, who prepare it for the customer. The company is committed to sustainability: 80% of their packaging is recyclable and they are working hard to have as low a carbon footprint as possible.
His advice for a young entrepreneur in Monaco is to plan ahead. Young people tend to have a know it all attitude, and he suggests calming the ego and preparing for the worst case scenario.
“Do it. If you have a good idea, plan it well, and just do it,” shared the 23-year-old entrepreneur.
Cycling is a healthy and 100% pollution-free way to explore an area. An accessible sport, cycling is a big passion not just for cyclists. Some people are referring to cycling as the “new golf” when it comes to doing business. Veronica Larsson founded Velo Monaco as a way to start a new career after ending hers as a professional cyclist. Initially, friends were asking for her help as a coach.
“Monaco is a very good place to be for what we are doing. We created a company here because the system is very supportive. The efficiency of having a small company is welcoming and encouraging.”
With an infectious smile and engaging presence, it is no wonder Velo Monaco has become a success. The Swedish native explained how her company grew from private sessions to what it is now. She frequently takes corporate groups out in the French Riviera, most recently a large tech company at the Cannes Lion. She emphasised how cycling is a good team building experience, where people can experience roads they might have never dreamed about. Additionally, she leads private holidays all around Europe, where she arranges hotels and a cycling itinerary for small groups. Cycling is a social, healthy, and carbon-free way to enjoy nature.
Her advice to other young people wanting to start a company in Monaco is to contact the Business Welcome Office. She described how helpful they were with filling out documents, giving guidance, and answering all her questions.
Are you a young person looking to start a company in Monaco? These entrepreneurs prove that anything is possible. All you need is a good idea, careful planning, and hard work.