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Food For Thought At iThrive Event
Almost 100 delegates took part in an event aimed at celebrating innovation in the food and drink sector, held as part of the 2010 East Midlands iFestival.

Celebrity foodie Loyd Grossman OBE, former professional poker player Caspar Berry and serial entrepreneur Jonathan Hick were the key speakers at the iThrive event, which was organised by the Food and Drink iNet and took place at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire.

The event celebrated the finale of a string of working party sessions that have been run by the Food and Drink iNet over the past few months aimed at inspiring firms to look at new products, new processes and new ways of working.

Delegates heard about the importance of branding from TV presenter and the former host of MasterChef Loyd Grossman, who launched his Loyd Grossman brand of sauces in 1995. The brand is now worth more than £55 million a year.

They also learnt more about risk taking and decision making from ex international poker player Caspar Berry, who provided insights into risk, uncertainty and the science of decision making.

The final speaker, entrepreneur Jonathan Hick, who has appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, told the audience how he had launched a series of businesses - from an enterprise selling foam hands to a company buying and preserving brands from firms that have gone into administration. He now has 21 partners in six different businesses.

“The iThrive event was a fitting finale to the first two years of the Food and Drink iNet, during which time the iNet has supported more than 300 businesses in the region, provided Innovation Support Grants to 57 businesses, and has funded nine university collaboration research projects,” said Food and Drink iNet director Peter Maycock. “The Food and Drink iNet has also run a successful series of events that attracted more than 650 delegates from 150 businesses to look at some of the key industry issues.

“In addition, the Food and Drink iNet has run three successful best practice factory visits and also raised the profile of the food and drink sector as a career choice amongst students at the region’s universities. I am delighted that so many people working in the sector were able to join us for such an informative and interesting event, and hope it has given delegates some food for thought for the future.”

The iThrive event was part of the 2010 East Midlands iFestival taking place from 12th March to 23rd April, which is the largest annual celebration of innovation in the UK and features more than 150 activities across the region. The iFestival is being co-ordinated by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and East Midlands Innovation (the region’s innovation council).

The Food and Drink iNet is aiming to foster innovation in the region’s food and drink sector by encouraging businesses to turn new ideas into new business through the development of new technologies and products. It’s also hoping to stimulate new processes, services and ways of working in the industry to help boost the sector.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Food and Drink iNet is managed by a consortium, led by the Food & Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham.

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