Celebrity foodie Loyd Grossman OBE, former professional poker player Caspar Berry and serial entrepreneur Jonathan Hick will be the key ingredients of an event organised by the Food and Drink iNet for this year’s iFestival.

The three have been unveiled as speakers at the iThrive event being held at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, on March 25th.

It is 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).

Aimed at businesses connected to the food and drink industry in the East Midlands, the iThrive event will turn the spotlight on the latest innovations in the sector, review the contribution of branding and reputation to a successful business, explore the theory and science behind risk and its role in decision making, and provide inspiration for the future.

It will also celebrate the Food and Drink iNet Working Parties which have been running across the region over recent months to explore specific areas of the food and drink sector.

“The Food and Drink iNet iThrive event promises to be a very interesting and informative session, and will also give us the chance to review the insights which have been discovered by the working parties,” said Peter Maycock, Food and Drink iNet Director.

“It has all the ingredients for an inspirational and thought-provoking day, plus the chance for businesses to meet others in the sector.”

Television presenter Loyd Grossman, who has a range of sauces, soups and other products, will kick off the event by looking at branding and reputation. His speech will be followed by an interactive workshop led by Caspar Berry, a former professional poker player and co-founder of Twenty First Century Media.

Caspar will be using game playing to provide insights into risk, uncertainty and the science of decision making.

The event will culminate with a networking dinner to provide opportunities to discover more about the Food and Drink iNet and how the iNet can help businesses thrive and grow. Serial entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Jonathan Hick, who recently appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, is to be guest speaker.

Running from 1.30pm to 9.30pm, tickets for the iThrive event are free by contacting enquiries@foodanddrinkforum.co.uk.

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.

For further information about the iFestival and East Midlands Innovation please visit www.eminnovation.org.uk