Tickets have now gone on sale for the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards 2010 ceremony and gala dinner, co-hosted by journalist John Sergeant and weather presenter Des Coleman.

The event, sponsored by Derby College, will be held at The Roundhouse, Pride Park, Derby, on November 25th from 6.45pm to midnight.

John Sergeant and Des Coleman will be revealing the five winners of the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards, plus the Food and Drink Forum Innovation Champion 2010.

Entries for the awards, which are designed to recognise and reward the most exciting developments in the region’s food and drink sector, have been received from firms, individuals and researchers who work in the industry across the East Midlands. Judging is now taking place, with the shortlist of successful entrants due to be unveiled shortly.

Tickets for the event cost £65 plus vat per person, and table sponsorship is available at £650 plus vat, for businesses wishing to have a larger presence at the event. The comprehensive package of benefits offered to table sponsors includes ten tickets plus a range of promotional opportunities designed to get businesses noticed.

“The Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards ceremony has become one of the highlights of the food and drink sector calendar in the region, as well as the chance for us to recognise the achievements of firms, individuals and researchers who work in the industry in the East Midlands,” said Food and Drink iNet director Andrew Butterwick.

John Sergeant was famously interrupted mid-broadcast by Margaret Thatcher when she emerged from the Paris Embassy, grabbed his microphone and declared her participation in the Conservative leadership battle, which won John a place in television history and a Press Guild Award for the most memorable outside broadcast. More recently, the former BBC chief political correspondent and former ITN political editor, has become a reporter on BBC1’s The One Show, has hosted Have I Got News for You? and is a regular on many Radio 4 panel shows, as well as being a popular contestant on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The after-dinner speaker for the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards 2010, he will also be co-hosting the ceremony with cheery weather presenter Des Coleman, who has worked in TV, theatre, presenting, musical theatre and films. Des’ TV credits include The Bill, Casualty, Doctors and most famously his four-year portrayal of lovable rogue Lenny Wallace in EastEnders – during which time the show won a BAFTA. He is also a presenter on The One Show.

The Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards, which are being held for the third year, will turn the spotlight on outstanding inventions or products, exceptional creativity, and innovative working practices in the industry in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

Tickets are available by emailing or calling 0115 9758810.

Funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Food and Drink iNet co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands. One of four regional iNets, it has developed an effective network to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.

The Food and Drink iNet also aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region.

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