Prime Minister Theresa May gives a statement in Downing Street, London after visiting Buckingham Palace and given permission to form a coalition government with the DUP as the UK snap general election leads to a hung parliament. Photo credit: Tolga Akmen
Prime Minister Theresa May gives a statement after the UK election results © Tolga Akmen/FT

The state of the world economy is always a topic for discussion at the annual EY event. So, although the tranquility of the Mediterranean coast feels a long way from the frantic political manoeuvring London, today’s general election result is creating a buzz here in Monaco.

Kevin Kajiwara, co-president of Teneo Intelligence, is taking part in a debate on the effects of the election result focused on, among other things, the Brexit negotiations, due to begin later this month. Asked about Brexit yesterday, he appealed for calm, noting that the negotiations have not yet begun and could be hampered by the complexities of resolving a hung parliament in the UK. His forecast? Expect the real issues with Brexit to emerge not this year but in 2018.

Monaco’s launch pad question

If you were to pick a European venue for a celebration of entrepreneurship, Monaco would not be the obvious venue. This city state certainly has cachet — itself sufficient to justify EY’s decision to hold its World Entrepreneur of the Year finals here. But it is famous, some would say notorious, as a home to old money, Russian oligarchs and tax exiles.

And yet Monaco is a place that understands what has been one of the main themes of the panel discussions at EY’s event — that of family businesses.

The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco for more than 700 years, even before it became a city state. And the family has provided a model for many of the better characteristics of dynastic businesses, including long-term planning, investment and innovations.

Where Monaco struggles is as an entrepreneurial hub. The Monaco Private Equity and Venture Capital Association was only formed a decade ago and faces an uphill battle encouraging ambitious founders to set up businesses in what is a very expensive place to live and work.

From Stockholm to Barcelona, Europe has plenty of dynamic city launch pads for ambitious start-ups, so maybe Monaco should not try to compete in this market. The first rule of business is stick to what you do best. For Monaco, it is family business.

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