We spoke to Camille Lopez, young and aspiring entrepreneur and founder of HY-Plug. HY-Plug is a maritime consulting company for new durable technologies and green energies, connecting all stakeholders in the yachting industry with sustainable solutions. HY Plug’s slogan is “The connection for the sea”, representing its concept of linking different actors in sea and ocean preservation.
Could you first tell us a bit about your educational background and how you came up with the idea for HY-Plug?
When I graduated the equivalent of level A in France, I first wanted to only work. After a few years of work I decided to carry on my studies and going further. I have a commercial background in sales, marketing, products export, logistics and international management. I worked two years as a sales woman in the automotive industry. I also worked in automotive supply and distribution. This helped me to get a good overview of the whole value chain. Gaining a global view helped me out a lot with what I am doing now. At the end of October, I graduated from the University of Monaco with International Management Master’s degree. During my stay in Monaco I discovered two competitions. One of them was the Mark challenge. In my personal life I am a horse rider, which makes me very competitive, so I decided to compete at the Mark challenge. The competition said you should link environment, business and luxury products. This inspired me, because I was witnessing the increasing pollution around us. I wanted to put all my professional skills to use on this problem and help as much as possible. I won two awards, then I had competed and won a second competition “Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge” and concluded, if there are awards regarding my project, that means there is interest.
I am working on the egg and chicken problem, simultaneously targeting yachts and their refill stations. If I work on both, I can help both.
What would you say was the main enabler of your business? The competition or going to university or something else?
To be honest, if I wasn’t in Monaco I wouldn’t get this idea. You can dream as big as you want. If you want to ask something, just knock the door and ask. If the answer is yes, then great for you. If the answer is no, try again. The university, teachers, and challenges gave me a head start into the entrepreneurship world.
What would you say to someone to motivate them to start something in sustainability?
You need to step out of your initial circle. It may be the case sometimes, that your surrounding is not empowering and that the people around you don’t understand you, simply because it is not their industry. You just need to step out of it and network with different students, people on events or even on social network.
What would you say is the best benefit of working in the marine industry?
I come from the automotive industry, where we say that industry is small. What I can say, the yachting industry is even smaller. A benefit is, when you want to start a business and boost your reputation, the response from the industry is faster, which is helping you to run the business faster.
Careful, because you can get burnt, but you can also gain a lot if you are cautious. Sustainability is a niche market. People know each other, but what impressed me is the positive mindset. When you have a call with people, they are smiling and are really listening to you.