What is SME IPO: Meaning, Application, and Key Differences

What is SME IPO: Meaning, Application, and Key Differences

The initial public offering (IPO), which signifies a company’s transformation from a private to a publicly listed entity, is a key event in the stock market. While the majority of people are aware of initial public offerings (IPOs) in relation to well-known firms, there is another type of IPO known as a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) IPO.

SME IPO in share market is a simplified and cost-effective approach for small and medium-sized businesses to enter the stock exchange and acquire finance for expansion or additional company objectives. SME IPOs have gained popularity due to their streamlined regulatory requirements and decreased compliance obligations, making them accessible to firms with lower market size.

We will examine what a SME IPO is, how it operates, its characteristics, and the main distinctions between SME IPOs and main board IPOs in the Indian market in this detailed guide. We’ll also give some insight into how SME IPO applications are submitted.

What is an SME IPO?

SME IPO, also known as Small and Medium-sized Enterprise IPO, is a specialised platform for small and medium-sized enterprises to raise capital by offering their shares to the public. These companies are typically in the early stages of development and are seeking to expand their operations, make investments, or meet regulatory requirements. SME IPOs are designed to cater to the unique needs and challenges faced by small businesses.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) developed the idea of SME IPO in India to give smaller businesses a distinct route to the capital market. The BSE SME and NSE Emerge platforms, which are stock exchanges specialised to the trading of SME securities, govern SME initial public offerings (IPOs). These platforms give smaller businesses the chance to generate capital through the sale of shares without having to comply with the stringent regulations and expenses of a major board IPO.

How an SME IPO Works

The process of an SME IPO in India involves several key steps:

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an SME IPO, a company must meet certain eligibility criteria defined by the stock exchange and SEBI. These criteria include factors such as the company’s net worth, track record, and post-issue paid-up capital.

Drafting the Prospectus

The company prepares a prospectus, which provides detailed information about the company, its operations, financials, and the purpose of the IPO. This document is reviewed by SEBI for accuracy and completeness.

Appointing Intermediaries

To help with the IPO process, the firm employs a number of intermediaries, such as a merchant banker, registrar to the issue, and lead manager. These experts are essential in helping the business through the regulatory procedures and carry out the IPO.

Roadshows and Investor Awareness

SMEs frequently hold roadshows and promotional events to raise awareness among possible investors and pique their interest.

Pricing and Allotment

The firm chooses the issue price in cooperation with the lead management. After a subscription procedure—which may involve the fixed price approach or the book-building process—the shares are then allocated to investors depending on the subscription process.

Listing and Trading

Once the IPO is successfully completed, the shares are listed on the SME exchange. Trading commences, and investors can buy and sell the shares in the secondary market.

Features of SME IPOs

SME IPO stock come with distinct features that set them apart from main board IPOs:

Reduced Regulatory Requirements

SME IPOs are subject to less stringent regulatory requirements compared to main board IPOs, which makes them more accessible to smaller companies.

Dedicated SME Exchanges

SME IPOs are listed and traded on specialised stock exchanges, such as the BSE SME and NSE Emerge, which cater specifically to SMEs.

Retail Investor Focus

SME IPOs often target retail investors, making them an attractive investment option for individual investors.

Limited Issue Size

SME IPOs typically have a smaller issue size, making them suitable for companies with lower capital requirements.

Transparency and Disclosure

While the regulatory requirements are more relaxed, SME IPOs still require the disclosure of essential information to potential investors.


To provide liquidity in the secondary market, market makers are required to facilitate trading in SME IPO shares.

Difference between SME IPO and Main Board IPO

Regulatory Requirements

Main board IPOs have stronger compliance standards, whereas SME IPOs have laxer regulatory requirements.

Smaller businesses can participate in SME IPOs since the requirements are less strict.

Exchange Platforms

SME IPOs are listed and traded on specialised SME exchanges like BSE SME and NSE Emerge.

Main board IPOs are listed on the regular stock exchanges like BSE and NSE.

Investor Base

SME IPOs often target retail investors, while main board IPOs may focus on institutional investors.

Retail investors play a significant role in SME IPOs.

Issue Size

Smaller issue sizes are usual for SME IPOs, making them appropriate for businesses with low capital needs.

Larger issue sizes and often established firms are linked to main board IPOs.

Transparency and Disclosure

While both types of IPOs require disclosure, SME IPOs may have less comprehensive financial reporting and disclosure requirements.

How to Apply for SME IPOs

Investors interested in applying for SME IPOs in India can follow these steps:

  • Ensure you have a Demat account and a trading account with a registered stockbroker.
  • Examine the prospectus of the SME IPO to understand the company’s financials, objectives, and risk factors.
  • Once the SME IPO opens for subscription, place your orders through your stockbroker using the application forms provided by the company or through online trading platforms.
  • Make the payment needed to subscribe to the shares you want. Demand draughts, UPI, and other payment methods are available. Net banking is another.
  • After the IPO is completed, the business allots shares to investors in accordance with the subscription process. The shares are allocated to you and credited to your Demat account after which they may be listed and traded on the SME market.


Small and medium-sized firms in India can generate money and grow their companies via the use of SME IPOs. These IPO investments stand out from main board IPOs because they have fewer restrictions and a stronger emphasis on retail investors. Despite the benefits of SME IPOs, prospective participants should perform extensive due diligence and thoroughly read the prospectus. Both businesses and investors may make wise choices on the Indian stock market by being aware of the distinctive characteristics of SME IPOs and the distinctions between SME and main board IPOs.

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