IP a critical issue for SMEs

April 26, 2022 is World Intellectual Property Day and, to mark the occasion, we would like to focus on the importance of intellectual property (IP) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and highlight the support that is available to enable SMEs to manage and valorise their IP.

IP is a business tool that allows SMEs to protect their investment in innovation and creativity. It can improve an SME’s competitiveness and provide a potential source of revenue. In fact, SMEs that own intellectual property rights generate 68% more revenue per employee than those who don’t, and are 33% more likely to become high growth firms. However, SMEs often lack the time, resources, or knowledge to address IP issues – but don’t worry, help is at hand!

Support is available

On the Promoting Enterprise portal, we have previously highlighted support available to SMEs in the area of IP protection. In particular, the IPA4SME programme from the European Commission which, since its launch in 2019, has been successfully accompanying SMEs on their path to IP valorisation, helping them to protect their valuable IP. To date, over 1,000 SMEs from 30 countries have benefited from the programme.

Support is also available free-of-charge through the European IP Helpdesk, which helps European SMEs to manage, disseminate and valorise their IP and supports IP capacity building – from awareness to strategic use and successful exploitation. For more targeted support and advice in relation to operations in China, South-East Asia, Latin America or India – see the International IP Helpdesks.

SMEs can also take advantage of co-funding for trade mark or design applications from the Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund – a European Commission grant scheme implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that supports SMEs with their IP. EUIPO also offers free personalised IP support to SMEs.

Finally, the Horizon IP Scan is a tailored IP support service provided by the European Commission specifically designed to help European start-ups and other SMEs involved in EU-funded collaborative research projects to efficiently manage and valorise IP in collaborative R&I efforts.

Learning about IP and its associated rights is important, so if you are an SME that would like to protect your investment in innovation and know-how make sure you’re aware of the support available and benefitting from it! Learn more about European IP support for SMEs and discover further resources here.


If you are a project that offers IP support to SMEs along with other support, you might be eligible to take part in this year’s European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). The six categories in this year’s competition are:

  1. Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit
  2. Investing in skills
  3. Improving the business environment and supporting the digital transition
  4. Supporting the internationalisation of business
  5. Supporting the sustainable transition
  6. Responsible and inclusive entrepreneurship

For mFor more information, visit the the European Commission website and get the latest updates on the Promoting Enterprise News Portal, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.