Starting a Business in Monaco
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Why Start a Business in Monaco?
Ben Johnson once wrote ''what punishment is avarice to itself.'' He obviously never visited Monte Carlo. If there was ever a country without shame, it's Monaco. It vaunts and flaunts down the catwalk of the continent, showing the rest of us exactly what it is that money can buy. It is a cash delta and the unsurprising envy of the business world. Like water, money slips through our fingers seemingly without a trace. Well, if money had a drain pipe it would lead to Monaco.
Monaco has no income tax and thrives as a haven for the investors who have located there. After thousands of years of virtual nothingness, the wheel of fortune has spun in its favour. With an economy based primarily on tourism, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, transport, food, clothing and textiles, there are sectors to accommodate any striving investor thinking of relocating there.
The UK doesn't hold the same trading ties with Monaco that it does with other countries, but the opportunities are still vast. Monaco boasts an excellent infrastructure, social and political stability, strategic geographical positioning and an exceptional quality of life. With a sound international mindset, the principality imposes virtually no restrictions on foreigners wishing to grab themselves a piece of the lucrative action, and obtaining permission to do so is a comparatively easy process.
But let's face it, that's not the main attraction here. Business is a rather indulgent affair, set against a backdrop of casinos, Grand Prix, boutiques, yachts and the Mediterranean. The six-month residency prerequisite should not prove such an endurable task, then. Costs are high, but so is the standard of life. Obtaining a residence permit is a more meritocratic process than in other areas of Europe, but providing you have a sound plan, the rest should fall into place.
So, Monaco, the European epicentre of affluence, the top-hat and tails of the European ball. If Monaco sounds like the perfect place to supplant your entrepreneurial ambitions, read on to find out how you can be part of the rags-to-riches story.
What is the currency?
The currency of Monaco is the Euro (EUR).
Monaco has the authority to mint the Monegasque designs on the national side of their Euro coins.
What is the climate like in Monaco?
Monaco's climate is a very pleasant, mild climate with around 300 days of sunshine a year.
The seasons are similar of the UK:
- Winter - December/January/February
- Spring - March/April/May
- Summer - June/July/August
- Autumn - September/October/November
Where should I base myself?
The Principality has only one commune, Monaco, whose limits are the same as those of the state. The commune is divided into 5 areas:
- Monaco-Ville on the Rock - home to the Prince's Palace, the ramparts, Cathedral and Oceanographic Museum
- The Condamine - the second oldest area of Monaco
- Monte Carlo - home to the famous Monte Carlo Casino, luxury hotels, cafes, Larvotto Beach, Monte Carlo Sporting Club and the Boulingrins Gardens
- Fontvieille - newest area of Monaco. This area was built from reclaimed land from the sea and is home to a man-made waterfront, with a heliport, stadium and habour. Light pollution-free industries are centered in the Fontvieille industrial zone. The new hotel Columbus Monaco is located here
- Moneghetti - the home to the Reires and the Exotic Gardens
What are the main industries in Monaco?
One of the most important industries is tourism. This is due to the mild climate, the history, the famous casino, harbours, annual Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Rally, amongst other things.
Other important industries include transport, plastics, precision engineering, paper processing, rubber, textiles, ceramics, electrical and electronic construction and clothing.
The last decade has seen GDP growth of 0.9% per annum (est.). There are also low inflation rates in Monaco of 1.9%.
Monaco's Government supports entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in Monaco or open offices. You can visit their offices for the necessary paperwork:
Administrative Information Centre
23, Avenue Albert II
Quartier de Fontvieille
Tel: +377 98 98 40 26
Fax: +377 98 98 40 86
Opening hours: 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
There is a British Honorary Consulate in Monaco:
33 Boulevard Princesse Charlotte
MC 98005 Monaco Cedex
Tel: +377 93 50 99 66
Fax: +377 93 50 14 47
What about agreements with France?
Monaco is not an official member of the EU but there are bilateral and reciprocal agreements between France and Monaco. This means that in exchange for the undertaking by France to defend the independence and sovereignty of the Principality, Monaco undertakes to exercise its rights in conformity with French interests. Most European directives that apply in France apply indirectly in the Principality.
What does Monaco export?
Monaco's main exports include pharmaceuticals, perfumes and clothing.
Monaco is an important international trading centre. There are many import/export trade houses, agents and consultants. The trade association, the Syndicat Monegasque des Etablissements de Nice International (SMENI) hosts the largest trading houses.
What does Monaco import?
Monaco's main imports are food, natural resources, amongst others. Monaco and Italy have the greatest trade links. Monaco also has good trade links with France including administration and legislation.
What do I have to do if I want to import goods to sell in Monaco?
You will need to contact The "International Formalities" department within the C.D.E. (Economic Development Chamber):
Economic Development Chamber (CDE)
2 rue de la Leta
MC 98000 Monaco
Tel: +377 97 98 68 68 Corporate services: International Formalities
Fax: +377 97 98 68 69
What other things should I consider?
If your product is original, then you should consider applying for patents and trademarks. Generally, UK citizens must already have the patent or trademark registered in the UK before they can apply to have them registered and protected in Monaco.
Once that is done you need to contact the:
Economic Development Direction
9 rue du Gabian
MC 980000 Monaco
Tel: +377 98 98 87 62
Fax: +377 92 05 75 20
Opening hours: 9.30am - 12.30pm/1.30pm - 5.00pm Monday - Friday
They will be able to advise you on the protection of inventions, trademarks, industrial drawings and designs, as well as geographical indications.
Trademarks are currently protected for a period of 10 years from the date of the first application in Monaco. It normally takes 2 to 3 months from the application date for the Trademarks to be granted. There is also a possibility of multiple renewals.
Patents - you can apply for a patent, which lasts for a maximum term 20 years beginning on the day the deposit is filed with the Department of Intellectual Property. You have to pay an annual fee for maintaining the patent protection.
Labour and workforce
What is the employment situation in Monaco?
There is virtually no unemployment in Monaco. If you need help finding staff, the Governments Employment Service can help you.
2 rue Princesse Antoinette
MC 98000 Monaco
Tel: +377 98 98 88 14
Fax: +377 93 15 89 74
If you have been made redundant or dismissed you must register at the Employment service to receive benefits. You can visit the employment offices in France:
44, rue Berlioz
Tel: +377 4 93 16 31 70 Employers' service
Fax: +377 4 93 82 05 45 Recipients' service
What is the minimum wage / holiday entitlement?
The minimum wage is the same as France (hourly gross wage is 8,63?) plus 5% to cover travelling costs incurred by the three quarters of the workforce who travel in from France. Annual leave is 5 weeks. There are 11 paid Bank Holidays a year in Monaco.
Organisations that can assist with Starting a Business
Multi-lingual Notaries to notarise, translate and legalise documents for international use
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