WIPO National IP Essay Competition 2021: Intellectual Property, SMEs, and Economic Recovery in Nigeria


May 6, 2021

Every April 26, we celebrate the World Intellectual Property (IP) Day to learn more about the role that IP rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. This year's celebration themed "IP and SMEs: taking your ideas to Market" highlights the role that IP plays in supporting entrepreneurs by converting ideas to market opportunities. 

To celebrate this day, the WIPO Nigeria Office welcomes participation of all students of tertiary institutions across Nigeria in the 2021 National IP Essay Competition on the topic "Intellectual Property, SMEs, and Economic Recovery in Nigeria". 

With this year's focus on IP and business, it is worth noting that small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, make up around 90 percent of the world's businesses, employ around 50 percent of the workforce and generate up to 40 percent of national income in many emerging economies.

Each of these business ventures has taken an idea and married with ingenuity to create a product or a service that consumers want. And each of them can use IP rights to safeguard and create value from their business assets. Yet, many are unaware that they hold IP or that it has value. This means many are missing out on opportunities to improve their bottom line and grow. Studies show that when businesses are IP-savvy, and when they acquire and manage IP rights, they do better.

This theme provides an opportunity to reflect on the role that competitive SMEs can play in driving Nigeria's economic recovery in the post-COVID era, and how IP can support them. 

Participation in the competition will provide students with an excellent opportunity to research and learn more about the field of IP, as they explore policy ideas that can help stimulate Nigeria's economic recovery through SMEs.


Who can participate

The national competition is open to all registered students (undergraduate and postgraduate) of recognized tertiary institutions in Nigeria: universities, college of education, polytechnics, as well as professional or vocational institutions. 

Entry requirements

  • The essay must be written in English
  • Entries must be between 500 and 1,500 words long (bibliography and references are excluded from the word count).
  • Entries should be prepared in font 12 Arial (Black), with double line spacing and pages numbered.
  • Entries should be submitted in both Word and pdf format.
  • Entries must not include any pictures or other graphical illustrations. 
  • Entries must not contain any indication as to the name, school, number, email address or other means of identification or affiliation of its author and/or any other person.
  • Plagiarism of any sort will result in disqualification.
  • Submissions received after the announced deadline will not be considered.

All entries should be made to nigeria.office@wipo.int, with the subject title of the email initial.surname_WIPD 2021 Essay Competition (for example, G.Nduka_WIPD 2021 Essay Competition), and must be received on or before midnight, May 19, 2021.

What is up for grabs?

  • A scholarship spot on WIPO's Advanced International Certificate Course on IP Management.
  • Three (3) scholarship  spots to attend the WIPO Summer school in South Africa.
  • Two scholarship spots to attend the first WIPO Nigeria Summer School to be held in Lagos in July.
  • Three Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship Awards to participate in the West African Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship. 
  • Authors of the 15 essays will receive:
  • special WIPO Packages and Certificates of Achievement;
  • an invitation to participate in a National Intellectual Property Study Tour of IP institutions, registries and stakeholders in Nigeria, facilitated by the WIPO Nigeria Office; and 
  • a scholarship to undertake any of the WIPO Distance Learning courses.
  • The top three essays will be submitted to WIPO for possible publication in the WIPO Magazine, subject to WIPO publication schedule and review.
  • Several other exciting IP learning and professional capacity-building prices will be won!

What our judges will look out for

  • Originality
  • Structural flow, clarity of thought and expression, grammatical accuracy and coherence
  • Relevance to the field of IP
  • Relevance to national, regional and/or international context
  • Policy suggestions, proposals and/or pathways

Entries must be received on or before midnight, May 19, 2021

Winners of the competition will be announced in June 2021.