– 6th edition –
On Friday, June 9th, the three winners of the Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge were rewarded by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. This international competition, co-organized by the International University of Monaco (IUM), the Oceanographic Institute (Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation), the Monaco Impact association and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, brought together over 100 students and young entrepreneurs from all around the world. The ceremony took place in the presence of Mr. Hervé Berville, Secretary of State for the Sea of the French Republic. The objective? To support the younger generation in developing new concepts and business models that have a positive and measurable environmental impact on the ocean.
The hundred participants, representing around 23 different nationalities (including the United States, Mexico, Italy, France, Turkey…), and coming from about twenty international universities and business schools, worked from mid-January to the end of April 2023 to create a business plan presenting new entrepreneurial concepts for a more sustainable ocean.
In total, 47 projects were submitted, and after two selection stages, 6 of them were chosen for the grand finale, divided into the “Students” and “Start-ups” categories.
As a pitch competition, the finalists were invited to present and defend their projects orally on the stage of the Conference Room at the Oceanographic Museum, to convince the 5 members of the jury.
After an afternoon of presentations in front of the public, followed by the jury’s deliberation, the three winners were rewarded by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who stated: “I would like to thank them not only for their efforts, their energy, their talent that they deployed to get this far, but even more their commitment to our global ocean […] They will always be welcome here in the Principality of Monaco, which, for decades, as evidenced by the Oceanographic Museum, brings together all good intentions, all energies, and all talents that wish to engage in the protection of the oceans.”
“Students” Category (open to undergraduate and graduate students from any specialization, or recently graduated, from business schools, engineering schools, scientific fields, design or arts, communication, etc.)
2023 Winner: Bloom (Babson College, United States): Initiative for cleaning and converting algal blooms – converting surface algae into biomass pellets.
Prize: A discovery trip to the Arctic for two people, worth €8,000, offered by Nansen Polar Expeditions.
“Start-ups” Category (open to all entrepreneurs who create or have created a company after June 2020)
2023 Winner: Pronoe (France): Through alkaline flow production and control, Pronoe issues high-quality carbon removal certificates. Its clients purchase these certificates to achieve their Net Zero and SDG commitments.
– A €5,000 check offered by Monaco Impact.
– A mentoring program worth €7,000 offered by White Castle Partners.
“Coup de Coeur” Special Award
2023 Winner: Flexisea (MINES Paris – PSL, International University of Monaco, and Universitatea Politehnica of Bucureșt): Submarine robotic arm offering a precise solution for handling tasks and reducing harm to marine species.
Prize: A €3,000 check offered by CFM Indosuez Wealth Management.
Each winner has received a trophy in the form of an artistic creation specially made for the MOPC 2023 Grand Finale made with recycled materials by the jeweler and creator Alberto Domenico Vitale, CEO of Vitale 1913 Monte-Carlo, committed to ocean preservation and sustainable trade since 2014.
As a leading banking institution and pioneer of responsible finance in Monaco, CFM Indosuez Wealth Management joins the circle of companies supporting the Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge. In addition to providing financial support to the initiative, CFM Indosuez Wealth Management offers the winner of the “Prix Coup de Coeur” a prize of €3,000 along with personalized guidance in their entrepreneurial journey, providing advice and assistance in seeking financing.
The Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge aims to concretely support the creation and development of startups capable of demonstrating a positive impact on ocean preservation in the short or medium term.
One of the objectives of the competition is to accompany the winners in advancing or realizing their professional projects by providing them with advice and support, by connecting them with contacts and knowledge within the professional networks of partner companies, particularly those involved in incubation, acceleration, or startup financing.
Camille Lopez, winner of the MOPC 2021, founded the company HY-Plug. HY-Plug provides consulting services in sustainable maritime solutions to companies, ports, and boat owners. HY-Plug works with alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, electricity, biofuels, and biomethanol. Camille Lopez shares her experience: “The Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge helped legitimize the HY-Plug concept in June 2021 from its early stages. By targeting the environmental impact on seas and oceans, this competition gives credibility to the company and provides access to a network. As a result, after winning the Mark Challenge Awards and the MOPC in 2021, I participated in and won another prize: the Young Economic Chamber of Monaco’s business creation competition on December 1, 2022. I took part in the Monaco Blue Initiative 2022, which gave me a transversal understanding of projects and companies contributing to the protection of seas and oceans. This year, I attended the Ocean Innovators Platform during Monaco Ocean Week, and it was enriching to discover new innovations and expand my network. Thanks to the work done since February 2021 and all these actions taken, I am creating my second company in Monaco in 2023 for the same activity, but specialized in yachting, a dream coming true!”
The IUM’s mission is to prepare the new generations of leaders and entrepreneurs for the challenges of today and tomorrow. The key themes of entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship, innovation/digital transformation, and corporate social and environmental responsibility are integrated into all of its Bachelor’s, Master’s, and MBA programs.
The Oceanographic Institute’s mission is to promote knowledge, love, and protection of the oceans. It contributes to a sustainable relationship between humanity and the ocean by fostering political, social, technological, and economic transformations informed by science.
Monaco Impact aims to promote Monaco as the global center for philanthropy and impact investing. As part of this agreement, Monaco Impact sponsors a competition involving IUM students, rewarding the best project aimed at developing social media tools to attract and raise awareness among Generation Z about the importance of ocean protection.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is dedicated to addressing the alarming threats facing our planet’s environment. It works for the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development on a global scale. The Foundation supports initiatives by public and private organizations in the fields of research, technological innovation, and practices that are conscious of social issues. The Foundation funds projects in three main regions and focuses its actions on three primary areas.
Presentation of the 6 finalists:

Student Category
Bloom (Babson College, USA): Initiative for cleaning and converting harmful algal blooms – converting surface algae into biomass pellets.

Flexisea (MINES Paris -PSL, International University of Monaco, and Universitatea Politehnica din București): Underwater robotic arm providing precise manipulation solutions and reducing harm to marine species.

OceaNow (EDHEC France): A platform – a one-stop-shop – exclusively designed for ocean protection and regeneration, connecting individuals, businesses, investors, and experts from around the world.

Start-Ups Category

SilentReturns (USA): Robotic systems for underwater restoration and environmental projects. Robots designed to address global issues such as ghost gear and plastic fishing nets, abandoned chemicals and explosive war relics, potentially polluting shipwrecks, and invasive species.

StreamOcean (Switzerland): Launched in 2022, this environmental technology company creates an AI-powered turnkey solution for real-time marine life monitoring. It deploys underwater camera systems and an AI-driven data analysis system that enables continuous monitoring with real-time analysis of live-streamed videos and sensor data.

Pronoe (France): Through alkaline flow production and control, Pronoe issues high-quality carbon removal certificates. Its clients purchase these certificates to meet their Net Zero and SDG commitments.

Participating Universities and Business Schools:
American University of Dubai, Babson College, Burgundy School of Business, Catholic University of Madagascar, Cornell Drexel University, DTU (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet), EDHEC, Handelshøgskulen BI, Harvard University Extension School, IHEID Geneva, International University of Monaco, Memorial University, Mines Paristech Sophia Antipolis, Northeastern University, Politehnica of Bucharest, São Paulo State University “Júlio de Mesquita Filho,” Tampere University, UCLA, University of South Africa, Universite Côte d’Azur, University of Kerala, University of La Réunion.

Jury members:
Mr. Mathieu Ferragut, CEO of CFM Indosuez Wealth Management
Ms. Anne-Sophie Roux, Founder of Tēnaka and France representative for Sustainable Ocean Alliance
▪ Mr. Christian Lim, CEO of SWEN Capital Partners
Ms. Cyrielle Hariel, Journalist, Host of the show “Objectif Raison d’Être” and contributor at BFM Business and RMC Découverte
Ms. Sandrine Sauval-Chanteloube, Deputy Director of Monaco Tech