Information Good practice for entrepreneurs

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PHASE 1: PROJECT STUDY

Before embarking on setting up your business, you need to ask yourself some questions, both about the business that you wish to develop, and about the technical, financial and human resources which you will need to put in place.

Your idea

Ask yourself the right questions:

  • What are you offering? What will you sell (service(s), good(s), a concept?
  • What needs are you seeking to meet?
  • Who is your offering aimed at? Who is/are your target audience?
  • Who will be your competition? Which businesses (in Monaco/in the region/in France/in Italy/further afield) are already selling a product/service/concept that is identical or similar to yours?
  • How will you organise your distribution and marketing?

At this stage, it is essential to carry out market research and draw up a business plan. These studies will enable you to assess and plan the future profitability of your business, as well as the costs which you will need to budget for in order to achieve your goals.

Your skills

Succeeding in your project implies, in principle, a knowledge of your field and its applications. During the study phase, make sure that, where necessary, you are qualified to operate in that field. 

To this end, consult the list of activities which are regulated and/or subject to authorisation in the Principality to see if your planned business falls into this category.

Managing a business also draws on specific qualities and skills: administration, marketing, accountancy, management, etc.

Training for new or prospective entrepreneurs is offered, among others, by the Junior Economic Chamber of Monaco (JCI) . It is also worth noting that every year, JCI Monaco launches a business start-up competition , supported by the Prince’s Government.

The right type of legal entity

Before establishing your business, you will need to decide which type of legal entity you are going to operate as. Are you working with partners, or do you want to establish your business as a sole trader? What are the features of the different types of legal entity in the Principality? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each status? Which offers the best protection for directors?

Establishing a legal framework for your business is a mandatory step. Choosing the most appropriate one depends on the nature of your business, whether or not you are working with partners, your desire to protect your personal assets, your finance requirements, etc.

In Monaco, there are several types of legal entity, including the Sole Trader , the “Société à Responsabilité Limitée” (SARL)  and the “Société Anonyme Monégasque” (SAM) .

You can find a description of each one on the Government Internet portal, in the Public Services – Businesses section , as well as on page 1 of the “Settling in Monaco” brochure, available from the Welcome Office.

Welcome and support

A special welcome for entrepreneurs

You can rely on the Welcome Office  (phone +377 98 98 98 98 welcome.business@gouv.mc ), which offers a tailored welcome to all those considering settling in Monaco, whether on a private or professional basis.

With its dedicated and friendly premises, the Welcome Office places at your disposal the tools and information which will guide you through the process and support you in your planning. This government service will also help you to make contact with essential local organisations, both public and private.

You can also obtain information from the Government website, which has an area especially for professionals: spe.gouv.mc . Here, you will find numerous sections covering, for example: business guideline "Starting a business ", Monaco’s economy, tax , employment regulations , etc.

At each stage, from preliminary studies to the development phases, via the actual setting up of your business, you can count on the Welcome Office , a true gateway to a privileged circle of Monegasque businesses.

Local professionals

Whether you wish to seek advice from a professional (Notaries, Chartered Accountant, Lawyers, Legal Advisors) in requesting ministerial authorisation is left up to you, however it is mandatory if you wish to set up a “Société Anonyme Monégasque”. 

In all cases, all companies have a legal obligation to produce an annual statement of accounts, a profit and loss statement, and a management report, and to file accounting documents with the Trade and Industry Register . This statement must be validated by the Auditor or failing that, by a member of the Order of Chartered Accountants and Authorised accountant .

You will find full contact details for local professionals on the Government website: spe.gouv.mc. This will give you a complete overview of the professionals operating in the Principality, who have the knowledge to guide you and support you as you set up your business.

The costs of setting up and managing a business

You need to take into account the set-up and fixed costs of running a business right from the beginning of your planning; some of these cannot be reduced:

PHASE 2: APPLYING FOR AUTHORISATION, AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPAL AND REGISTRATION FORMALITIES

The analysis and study phases have been completed and you decide to turn your business plan into a reality. So you now need to apply for preliminary authorisation from the Prince’s Government since, in the Principality, the setting up and operation of any professional business in an independent capacity requires you to obtain ministerial authorisation.

Authorisation is granted on the basis of criteria covering good repute, qualifications or professional experience, and the existence of a stable establishment in the Principality which is functional and appropriate for the planned activity. Although it has been streamlined, this authorisation remains a key part of protecting the reputation and quality of the Monaco economy and those involved in it.

You should therefore submit your full application to establish a business to the Business Development Agency which is responsible for considering applications.

Once you have submitted your application, you will obtain a response from the Prince’s Government within the statutory period of three months.

If the Government approves the creation of your business in principle, you will then need to carry out the “post-authorisation” registration formalities . The Business Development Agency has made available a one-stop shop for these formalities, designed to centralise the procedures which need to be completed at this time: collection of ministerial approval, submission to the General Court Registry, publication in the Journal de Monaco, payment of fees, registration with the Trade and Industry Registry.

 

PHASE 3: LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS

To ensure a successful launch, make sure that you have completed all of the necessary administrative formalities, and also that you have carefully chosen your suppliers, etc.

Administrative formalities associated with premises

The administrative formalities associated with your premises will vary depending on your business.

In all cases, you will be opening an account with SMEG, Société Monégasque d’Électricité et du Gaz (electricity and gas), Société Monégasque des Eaux (water) and Monaco Telecom. Approach each of these utilities equipped with the documents required to open an account, which are:

  • For SMEG  (electricity and gas):
    • A bank account details (RIB)
    • Identity document
    • A document verifying the address of the premises (copy of tenancy agreement or certificate of ownership)
  • For SMEaux  (water), the steps to take and documents required are more or less the same
  • Pour Monaco Telecom :
    • A bank account details (RIB)
    • Identity document
    • A document verifying the address of the premises (copy of tenancy agreement or certificate of ownership)
    • The full address of the premises: street name and number, block, floor, and a note of the characters on the LOGO (a square which is usually located above your entrance, on which there are 5 numbers or letters)
    • A document certifying that your business has been registered with the relevant government services (extract from RCI, NIS certificate, etc.)

 

Your suppliers and your accounts

In Monaco, each company submits accounts to the Trade and Industry Registry (RCI) once a year. The documents sent to the RCI by entrepreneurs must be issued by a chartered accountant: member of the Order of Chartered Accountants (list of member ).

This is also the point at which you should be selecting your other suppliers and negotiating the conditions for their services. These might include outsourced secretarial services, transport services, and other service providers of all kinds. You can find out more about the companies available in the Principality in each field by browsing the various professional publications and directories ; a summary of these is available online.

 

Your first marketing documents

It is now time to choose and order headed paper for your company, your business cards, your marketing brochures... Don’t forget to display the name of your company on your letterbox.

There are certain types of information which must appear on your invoices . Among other things, these include information relating to the company’s registered name in the RCI, as well as tax information.

Consider also:

  • Planning your activities and setting deadlines
  • Identifying realistic and measurable goals
  • Participating in specific training which will allow you to take a step back and meet other company directors. Take a look at the professional training programmes offered by the Employers’ Federation
Last update: 10/12/2015

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