Series Overview

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Forum Europe are launching an event series looking at how the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) programme is used by Member States, especially with regard to the minimum of 20% of National Recovery & Resilience Plans (NRRPs) investments directed to the digital transition.

Questions the event series will address include the following:

  • What are the Member States’ digital investment priorities as part of their NRRPs?
  • Are those digital investments meeting the most pressing needs?
  • What opportunities and challenges are identified by both Member States and potential recipients of these funds?
  • In sum, can we expect the RRF to achieve its objectives? 
2 June 10:00 - 12:00 CEST | Online

Digitisation of European SMEs - Challenges & Opportunities

The first episode of this series will look specifically at the digitisation of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). While SMEs are the backbone of the European economy, many do not grasp the benefits of digitisation. The EU’s Digital Compass includes the ambitious target to reach over 90% of European SMEs with at least a basic level of digital intensity by 2030, up from 60% in 2020. This is, therefore, not surprising that multiple Member States have prioritised SMEs digitisation in their respective NRRP.

While many Member States have already launched calls and have received pre-financing disbursements, the event will provide a platform for European SMEs to learn and exchange views with EU and national policymakers on the opportunity provided by RRF funds. It will also be an occasion to identify potential investment gaps related to the digitisation of SMEs in the EU and discuss how the RRF can help bridge those gaps.

We hope you can join us for this first session on 2 June!


10:00 – 10:05

Welcome Remarks


Irena Bednarich
Vice President, International Government Relations, EMEA and APJ, HPE

10:05 – 10:35

Keynote Speeches

Gilles Thiebaut

Gilles Thiebaut
SVP and Managing Director, Northern Western Europe, HPE

10:35 – 11:30

Panel Discussion


Moderated by: Irena Bednarich
Vice President, International Government Relations, EMEA and APJ, HPE

Leonidas Christopoulos

Leonidas Christopoulos
Secretary General of Digital Governance and Simplification of Procedures, Hellenic Ministry of Digital Governance

Antti Rivarii

Antti Riivari
Director-General, Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)

11:30 – 12:00

Audience Q&A



Florika Fink-Hooijer

Director General, DG Environment

European Commission

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Brian Tippens

VP and Chief Sustainability Officer



Josefine Hintz

Sustainable Economy and Procurement


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David Peck

Associate Professor, Climate Design & Sustainability, Circular Built Environment and Critical Materials

Delft University of Technology

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Gareth Bevan

Senior Technologist, Sustainable Transformation



Moderator: Sonja van Renssen

Energy Monitor

New Statesman Group

Gilles Thiebaut

SVP and Managing Director
North-Western Europe


gustav kalbe

Gustav Kalbe

Deputy Director of Directorate C & Head of Unit, High Performance Computing and Quantum Technology

DG CNECT, European Commission

Utz Uwe Haus

Utz-Uwe Haus

Head of HPE HPC/AI EMEA Research Lab


Kimmo Koski

Kimmo Koski

Managing Director

CSC - The Finnish IT Center for Science

Michael Resch

Prof. Dr. Michael Resch

Director of the HLRS

HPC Centre Stuttgart

Irena Bednarich

Moderator: Irena Bednarich

Director, Corporate Affairs, EMEA



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Event Platform

This event will take place using Forum Europe’s virtual solutionFor more details on our virtual solution, please visit