Born and raised in the Principality of Monaco, Olivier Blanchy is committed to shape the economic scenery of the Principality, offering a role model philosophy for his fellow compatriots.
Olivier Blanchy is the co-founder of The Office business center in Monaco, a father of a son and a daughter. He is a man with a competitive spirit when it comes to increase the values of Monaco and its community.
The Blanchy family has rich roots in the Principality dating back to 1601. Olivier, who grew up in the Principality of Monaco and studied both in Monaco and Nice is very proud of his family heritage.
The official language in the Principality of Monaco is French, however the traditional language is Munegu. Did you learn to speak Munegu?
“Yes, of course. In Monaco every child learns the traditional Monégasque language in the elementary school. However, the language is not really used anymore therefore it easily fades away” – clarifies Olivier.
How is this in your case?
“I would like to say that I still know the Monégasque anthem in Munegu” – laughs Olivier.
Growing up in Monaco, most of the Monégasque people cultivate a very close relationship to the Princely family. Unlike in many other countries where people rarely see their royals in flash.
One can argue that when it comes to royal families, the state interest is the highest priority; however, Monaco has proved many times that it can combine both the state and personal interests very well. It is also an interesting fact that since many generations the Monaco royals marry to commoners.
Olivier grew up experiencing different eras in Monaco and one of his hardest moments was when H.S.H. Prince Rainer III passed away.
“I remember that I was at the University of Nice when I heard the terrible news. My grief was so deep, so I immediately came back home mourning our beloved Prince.” – remembers Olivier. – “Many people don’t think about it, but we as Monégasque, we grow up with a strong national identity and part of our childhood is to learn all those values that Monaco represents. For us it is natural to love the Princely family.”
Obviously at that time Olivier was too young to have an in-depth comparison between that era and the current one under the reign of H.S.H. Prince Albert II. However, and truth to be told for him the love and respect to all the members of the Princely family is equally important.
What are the top three things that you admire in Monaco?
“The Princely family, the security and of course the economy.”
What was your favourite place in Monaco as a kid?
“Fontvieille, I always loved to hang out in Fontvieille” – smiles Olivier.
What do you think about the fact that many people refer to Monaco as part of France? Even if Monaco is an independent country.
“I think it is coming partly from jealously” – laughs Olivier.
Did you ever want to leave Monaco?
“When I finished school at the Institut of Construction and Housing (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers) studying property law, there was a period when I moved to Corsica. I spent two and a half years there as a real estate agent.”
What was the reason for this change and why was it just a short period in your life?
“I have to confess that Corsica was a decision from my heart. I love the country, I love the mentality and of course the nature” – remembers back Olivier. – “However, when the opportunity did arise to work for the Monégasque Government I came back to Monaco without hesitation. Serving my country was an honour.”
Was this entirely your decision or was it an obligatory work to serve your country, such as army duties in other countries?
“No, it was my completely free choice. To be honest it was a common choice with my wife who was always supportive with my goals” – says Olivier.
Almost three years ago Olivier co-founded a new business center for the Principality of Monaco, called “The Office”. His two business partners are also Monégasque nationals, Arnaud Sbarrato and Benoit Biancheri.
When did you meet Arnaud and Benoit?
“I was around 20 years old when I first met them. We all played for Monaco’s national football team. We developed a close friendship and we shared the same principles in terms of working as a team in a competitive sport.”
Later on when Olivier returned from Corsica, coincidentally he started to work together with Arnaud.
“Since we had a long lasting and mutual respect towards each other I was also confident that we can do good business together” – explains it Olivier.
For them, establishing The Office was not just another business opportunity, but even more as a new and amazing adventure.
“We were all lucky because as friends everything worked out well. We could maintain the sprit of the teamwork from the soccer era, therefore we quickly excelled in the business field as well” – adds Olivier.
The concept of The Office, did not happen overnight. Olivier has worked for eight years at the Government of the Principality within the Business Creation Department before they launched the business center in 2018.
“The road to reach our final decision took us around two years.” – adds Olivier – “Make no mistake we always felt that we can do a great business together, but we did not know the right field.”
Since Olivier and Arnaud both worked in the field of the administrative procedure, it was almost like a natural choice for them to go with the idea of The Office. They had a very resourceful knowledge in the economical fields of the Principality of Monaco.
Arnaud, who previously worked for Developing the Economy at the Economic Expansion Direction for the Government of Monaco knew all the industrial premises and offices. Olivier who had worked at the Business Creation Department, brought to The Office all his expertise and know-how, particularly in corporate law.
What was the biggest challenge for you in the beginning?
“From day one the location played key importance in our plans. We wanted to establish the first business center close to Monaco’s Business Administrative Office. The Heart of the Monaco economy is based in Fontvieille and we wanted to be in the center of the offices” – explains Olivier.
It was also a positive advantage for them that the center of Fontvieille offers the two largest parking spaces in Monaco, namely the parking under Carrefour and the Stadium.
You are being an entrepreneur since more than two years now. When you look back what was the biggest fear you faced with?
“It was definitely the feeling of insecurity. I always served my country the best I could. My goal at the Government was and still is to help people to find solutions. Being a father of two children to be independent and give up on the fixed monthly salary was a hard decision for me.” – confesses Olivier. – “That time I was privileged because my wife supported my decision. She knew that I can be happy to be my own boss, therefore we decided to take on this challenge and to just do it.”
Previously working in the Business Creation Department, probably it offered you an easy start.
“No.” – replies quickly Olivier.
How so, since Monégasque people usually enjoy many benefits in Monaco, such as rent deduction and also the payment of the insurance (CAMTI/CARTI)?
“That’s indeed true and it was very helpful. Yet, the first months were challenging for us as well. We had to work very hard at the beginning, but luckily we grew very fast. It is very important to know that most of our clients are new clients and not from the old era. However, I made my positive reputation during my work at the Monégasque Government and this definitely helped.”
By helping businesses to settle and grow, Olivier was like a conductor managing the musicians in an orchestra. Since he became an entrepreneur, local business owners remembered him and now it is their chance to return the favour. Which they continuously do.
Just after one and a half year, The Office was already fully rented out and the founders decided to expand. They introduced a second location in 2020, still based in Fontvieille.
What is your “secret sauce”?
“I always tell people that I am not here to take their money, I am here to help them grow. Undoubtedly, we have several competences together with Arnaud, Benoit and me.”
So do you think this is what differentiates you from the other 15 competitors in your field?
“Every business has its own performance and whole different way of life. I believe there is a lot of demand for new office spaces in Monaco and for this reason the Principality offers enough for everyone. On the other hand, I never cared about what other people think, it is their business only. I always try to define my own life, make my own decisions and let others judge me based on the results of my work ethics. This is my own philosophy.”
What’s your advice for a fresh Monégasque entrepreneur?
“There are two ingredients to achieve success. Work hard and believe in yourself.”
But in general you like competition right?
“Absolutely, but I am more like a team player. Previously I played soccer, currently I play basketball and these sports can help you to have discipline while you work with your teammates to achieve greatness together” – says Olivier.
Interestingly in a country that offers one of the most iconic race track, Olivier never wanted to be a race driver. He was always committed to team sports and teamwork. This is something which runs through his family as well.
“My mother and sister played basketball, just like me. My mother also made it to the Olympics of the Small Countries. I am very proud to say that my little girl is also committed to playing basketball. For me it is very interesting to see that we have the same basketball coach even if we represent four generations.”
So why is it that Monaco offers such limited option for public basketball courts?
“Well, Monaco was highly competitive in basketball in the 1980s. Even nowadays we see growth in the number of license inquiries. So basketball remained popular however, the spaces in Monaco are limited.” – explains Olivier. – “Personally, as a father of two I am very happy that the Principality invested into a development of many amazing public parks and playgrounds which are offering diverse fun for everyone.”
Do you often go out with your children?
“We love to go out for a walk. I also enjoy to bring them to the port where we can all see the small fish. It is such a great fun for all of us.” – explains Olivier. – “The territory of my country is small however, we are blessed with a spectacular surrounding and for this reason we often go to the neighbourhood if we need some get-away.”
Finally, what do you think about the real estate development and the whole modernising of the Principality?
“I believe our country has to grow with its population. Obviously, construction works are coming with temporarily discomfort such as the increased noise. But you cannot have one without the other. When I see all these developments I am always thinking about the next generation. It is our collective responsibility to not just maintain, but also further develop our advantages in the world. We not just form the present, but also shape our footprint for the future.”