What is SME IPO?

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  • 14 Jun 2023

The world of finance and investment offers numerous avenues for businesses to raise capital and expand their operations. One such avenue that has gained significant attention in recent years is the SME IPO (Small and Medium Enterprises Initial Public Offering). So what is this IPO, its eligibility criteria, and benefits? Read on to find out.

An SME IPO refers to the process by which small and medium-sized enterprises offer their shares to the public for the first time on a stock exchange. Unlike traditional IPOs that involve large corporations, SME IPOs are specifically designed for smaller businesses looking to raise market capital and provide retail investors an opportunity to invest in these promising ventures.

Companies must meet certain criteria to be eligible for an SME IPO. These include:

  • Post-issue paid-up capital shouldn't be more than Rs. 25 crores
  • The SME should have a positive networth
  • The company's net tangible assets should be Rs. 1.5 crores
  • The company should have been incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956
  • The company should have a track record of at least 3 years
  • In case it has not completed 3 years, it should be funded by banks central or state government, or the group company must be listed for at least two years either on the SME board or main board
  • Access to Capital: One of the main advantages of an SME IPO is the opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to raise substantial capital. By going public, these companies can attract investments from a wider range of investors, including institutional and retail investors, allowing them to finance expansion plans, research and development, and strategic initiatives.

  • Enhanced Visibility and Credibility: Going public through an SME IPO provides companies with increased visibility and credibility in the market. The listing on a recognized stock exchange not only establishes the company's reputation but also enhances its brand value, making it easier to attract customers, suppliers, and business partners.

  • Liquidity for Shareholders: Another crucial benefit of SME IPOs is that they offer liquidity for existing shareholders, including promoters and early-stage investors. By providing an exit opportunity, SME IPOs allow these stakeholders to unlock the value of their investment, diversify their portfolio, and potentially realize significant returns on their holdings.

  • Growth Opportunities: Going public can unlock a plethora of growth opportunities for SMEs. Increased access to capital and improved financial visibility can enable companies to expand their operations, undertake mergers and acquisitions, invest in new technologies, and explore international markets. Furthermore, publicly listed entities may also attract strategic investors and partnerships, facilitating further growth.

Challenges and Considerations

While SME IPOs offer several advantages, there are also challenges and considerations that businesses should be aware of:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Publicly listed companies face increased regulatory requirements and compliance obligations. SMEs must ensure they have the necessary resources and systems to meet these obligations, including financial reporting, disclosures, and corporate governance standards.

  • Market Volatility: Stock markets are volatile, and the share price of an SME may fluctuate significantly. SMEs need to be prepared for market ups and downs and have a clear strategy to manage investor expectations.

  • Investor Relations: SMEs entering the public market must establish effective investor relations practices. This involves maintaining open communication, providing regular updates, and addressing investors' concerns promptly to build trust and confidence in the company.

Normal IPO

  • Should have minimum post-paid capital of Rs. 10 crores
  • Draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) and other documents need to be validated by SEBI
  • Minimum allottees of 1,000
  • Size should be between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000


  • Should have minimum post-paid capital of Rs. 1 crore
  • Stock exchange validates these documents
  • Minimum allottees of 50
  • Size is bigger at Rs. 1 lakh

To know about upcoming SME IPOs, you can monitor brokerage agencies online that provide regular information on such IPOs on their websites.

Should You Participate in an SME IPO?

Deciding whether to participate in an SME IPO requires careful consideration and analysis of various factors. Here are some points to consider before making your decision:

  • Evaluate the Company: Thoroughly research and evaluate the SME planning to go public. Look into its financial health, business model, growth prospects, competitive landscape, and management team. Assess if the company aligns with your investment goals, risk tolerance, and long-term strategy.

  • IPO Pricing and Valuation: Examine the IPO pricing and valuation of the SME. Assess whether the offer price is reasonable compared to the company's financials, growth potential, and industry benchmarks. Be cautious of highly overvalued IPOs, as they may carry greater risks.

  • Track Record and Performance: Consider the historical performance and track record of the SME. Look at its revenue growth, profitability, and consistency in delivering results. A strong track record can indicate the company's ability to generate returns for its shareholders.

  • Industry and Market Outlook: Evaluate the industry in which the SME operates and assess its growth prospects. Consider market trends, competition, regulatory factors, and potential risks that could impact the company's future performance. A favorable industry outlook can increase the chances of success for the SME.

  • Risk Assessment: Assess the risks associated with investing in an SME IPO. Factors such as market volatility, liquidity risks, governance issues, and the SME's ability to execute its growth plans should be carefully evaluated. Consider the potential downside risks and determine if you are comfortable with them.

  • Financial Stability: Examine the financial stability and sustainability of the SME. Review its debt levels, cash flow, and ability to meet its financial obligations. A financially stable SME is more likely to weather economic downturns and deliver long-term value to its investors.

  • Long-term Investment Horizon: Consider your investment horizon and whether you are willing to hold the investment for the long term. IPOs can be volatile in the initial stages, and it may take time for the company to realize its growth potential. If you are looking for short-term gains, an IPO may not align with your objectives.

  • Diversification: Assess your existing investment portfolio and consider whether investing in an SME IPO will provide diversification benefits. Diversifying across different asset classes and sectors can help mitigate risks and optimize returns.

In conclusion

SME IPOs present a promising opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to raise capital, enhance visibility, and unlock growth opportunities. By going public, SMEs can tap into the financial markets, access a diverse range of investors, and propel their businesses to new heights.

However, businesses must carefully evaluate their readiness for the IPO process, understand the associated challenges, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements to make the most of this transformative step.


An SME IPO refers to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) conducted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to raise public funds by issuing company shares for the first time on a stock exchange.

SMEs often choose to go public through an IPO to raise capital for their business expansion, repay debts, fund research and development, acquire new assets, or enhance their brand image. It gives them access to a wider investor base and the opportunity to grow their business.

Yes, there are. These include the BSE SME Platform and the NSE SME Platform.

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