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  • Writer's pictureCamille Lopez

HY-Plug featured in JCI Monaco's annual magazine

Last December, we won the Government prize in the 27th business start-up competition organized by the Jeune Chambre Économique de Monaco (JCEM).

As a result, JCI has honored us by mentioning HY-Plug in their annual magazine, Edition 2022/2023.

"3 Questions to Camille Lopez, winner of the Prix du Gouvernement & founder of HY-Plug:

What's the story behind HY-Plug?

The starting point was during my studies in Monaco. I decided to take part in the Mark Challenge, a business plan competition organized by the IUM, and that's when the basic idea for HY-Plug was born. The concept combines all my interests: engines, boats, new technologies and environmental values.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've gone out to sea with my father, I love nature and since childhood my parents have made me aware of the importance of acting in an eco-responsible way. With all this in mind, I drew up my first business plan. The idea was to provide a consultancy service and support for innovative projects in the port world, and more broadly in the yachting industry.

And I was honored to win the Sustainability Special Award and the Yachting Special Award for the 2021 edition. I'm a competitive soul, so I decided not to stop there. That same year, I applied for the Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge (MOPC) at the Oceanographic Museum, a competition for the best business plan presenting new concepts and economic models with a positive and measurable environmental impact on the ocean. I won in the "student" category.

After all that, were you ready to launch Hy-Plug?

Exactly. I was convinced that my company's ambitions were well-founded. So I set up the company in France, in May 2021. But after that, I didn't start by canvassing customers. I wanted to do things differently. First, I focused on the market, suppliers and technologies. I wanted to understand everything, to master my subject perfectly, so that I'd have concrete answers to give the day I started prospecting. During this period, I took part in various yacht shows, conferences and other meetings focusing on biofuels, green energies and new technologies. That's our strength: we're up to date on all these sectors, and we become a link between them. And it was finally at the end of January 2022 that I started prospecting, in a very targeted way. My very first customer was SMEG Monaco, and I have to say that from the outset, I've had incredible support from Monegasque institutions and players in the yachting industry.

How did you find out about the Concours de création d'entreprise (CCE)?

As I said, I have a competitive spirit. After winning Monaco's two most renowned business plan competitions, I continued to find out about the different competitions I could apply for, and discovered the JCEM competition. At that point, my project was too new. So I gave myself time to refine things and finally applied for this 27th edition. Winning this competition was a small professional dream, so I gave it my all.

From the presentation file to the presentation in front of the jury, I wanted everything to be perfect and documented down to the last detail. I therefore carried out simulations adapted to the Principality, by requesting banking costs from a Monegasque bank, talking to a Monaco chartered accountant, and recalculating my projections by taking into account the country's parameters such as direct debit.

In the end, I was honored to win the 1st Prize. From the outset, I wanted to set up HY-Plug in Monaco, but the question was when. I didn't want to do it without the necessary funds. The endowment of 40,000 euros that accompanies this prize will enable me to speed things up. I also plan to use the money to finance my various trips, invest in a marketing strategy and develop a team, eventually."

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