Success Factors for Internationalisation

-by INSME Secretariat

On September 2nd 2021, in the webinar “Success Factors for Internationalisation”, organised by the EU Intellectual Property Office – EUIPO, INSME and its partners examined the benefits of internationalisation for SMEs and how to set up an international strategy, and looked at Intellectual Property as an asset to support this process with Giovanni Zazzerini, INSME Secretary General, Elio De Tullio, Managing Partner at De Tullio & Partners, Boyko Takov, Executive Director of Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency and Francesca Dragostin, EUIPO. The seminar was introduced and moderated by Sabina Rusconi, EUIPO Customer Department.

The session was opened by Mr. Zazzerini, who offered an overview on internationalisation from a policy perspective: “the success factors for SME internationalisation are rooted in the domestic setup where SMEs can build their competences: e-commerce and web marketing, organisational and managerial competencies, financial skills, cultural insights”. Then, he highlights, “internationalisation is favoured by cluster development and strategic networking, which are also part of the INSME mission”.

The stage wad then taken by Ms. Dragostin, who offered a comprehensive view of the impact and value of Intellectual Property (IP) during the internationalisation process. In particular, after offering a brief description of the levels of protection offered by IP law by using a business case, she offered a step-by-step guide on what SMEs should do to protect their innovations at national, European and international level, and what instruments can support them along the way.

Mr. De Tullio began by highlighting how IP protection can be one of the key factors for SMEs to succeed in their internationalisation. Importantly, he stressed the importance of carrying out a preliminary assessment on novelty and distinctive capacity before the filing for IP protection, crucial for obtaining protection in a later stage. He also suggested that it is often best to take a “tailor-made approach for SMEs” as there are many factors to take into consideration which can vary from one company to another. Then, through the telling of two cases, he offered the audience a series of key recommendations, stressing in particular the importance of protecting IPRs before entering the market, manage the ownership of IPRs with respect to partners, and finally to activate a worldwide surveillance system the protected rights.

Mr. Takov focused on the importance of guiding SMEs in expanding internationally, stressing the importance of innovation in the process “nowadays innovation is equal to competitiveness for all companies regardless of size, not only innovation of products, but of all company aspects. As someone once said, innovate or die”. He then continued by exploring the role business organisations have in aiding and educating entrepreneurs: “The goal is to educate and provide training to entrepreneurs through exports, as at the end of the day, it’s all about developing the skills of the people and providing access to in-house expertise for SMEs.” And finally he offered some advice for SMEs looking for opportunities abroad, pointing out that to succeed abroad SMEs must seek and use opportunities through fairs and exhibitions, as well as make the most of bilateral organisations which can help form bridges between states.

Please find the recording of the event here.

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