Each month, we introduce you to a member of our Ambassador team. This month: Anna Sangiorgi, one of our Ambassadors in Italy, who is part of the Consorzio ARCA in Palermo.
Could you briefly describe your core expertise and field of activity within the Enterprise Europe Network? What are key services you offer to your clients?
I have been working with the Network from the very beginning and in line with the profile of my host organization, which represents the business incubator of the University of Palermo, I have always been assisting start-ups and local businesses in technology transfer actions. When I meet a company, I try to understand what its particular needs are and, after an initial proposal of activities and services, we jointly agree on the path forward. The issue of intellectual property (IP) is always addressed in this context to understand the level of awareness of the company and to help it generate value from its innovative product or process, especially when the company intends to compete in an international market.
What does it mean to you to be a European IP Helpdesk Ambassador? And what do you like most about it?
I have to admit, when I first made a request to be part of the Ambassadors of the European IP Helpdesk I did not perfectly understand the importance of this role, which is also to make it easier for our customers to manage IP-related problems in a European dimension. The possibility of comparison with other colleagues and the support of the European IP Helpdesk team have allowed me in recent years to be able to offer companies a high value-added service.
I really like being part of a group with which to share professional experiences, I like the atmosphere of collaboration and exchange with colleagues and with the European IP Helpdesk team. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to participate in excellent training courses at the prestigious EPO and EUIPO premises.
How would you describe the internal interaction and cooperation with your Enterprise Europe Network colleagues?
In my EEN consortium, Bridgeconomies, my colleagues know that if necessary, they can refer me to it and, if it is within my reach, I try to give them support. We don't have a fixed scheme for cooperating. There are sometimes occasions for a constructive comparison with other Italian ambassadors.
In your opinion, what are current “hot” topics and questions related to Intellectual Property (IP) in your region/country?
From my experience I can say that IP is still a fairly neglected topic. There is still the idea that IP is exclusively a problem of patents and protection and sometimes of trademark registration. There is no awareness of the whole breadth of the subject and there is no aptitude for planning a strategy. So at the local level it is necessary to work on IP awareness and culture.
What are major challenges SMEs face with regard to IP? And what kind of support is needed, you think?
As I mentioned in the previous answer, companies generate innovative ideas and products and often get a patent. However, in many cases this for them seems to be the end of the story, while it should be the first step of a sustainable growth and development strategy. In this scenario, the support of the network and the Ambassadors can be useful to manage that part of the innovation process, in which the IP plays an important role.