The North East technology experience Thinking Digital is expanding to Manchester.

Founder Herb Kim made the announcement at the Gateshead-based conference yesterday. The first North West event for technologists and digital entrepreneurs will take place in November.

“We are really excited about taking on the challenge and building a community there,” he said.

“While our emotional home will remain in Gateshead, we are looking forward to being in Manchester.”

It will take a similar format to Gateshead fixture with speakers from around the world as well as opportunities to showcase more local developments.

It will be housed at Home and last for 1.5 days with the main day being November 3 and speaker Rory Sullivan, formerly of Ogilvy is already confirmed to attend.

Meanwhile at The Sage in Newcastle, the eighth annual event is underway with several hundred participants hearing from thought leaders in the sector on topics which range from art to commerce to cutting edge science.

Activities have included workshops and the semi finals of a competition for start-ups drawn from across the North.

Pitches from 12 projects were judged by the audience as well as an expert judging panel which included the newly appointed head the government initiative Tech North, Claire Braithwaite.

They included a public/private place to store memories, an app to lend money to business mortgage providers and an online/mobile healthy eating service.

The full list of competitors can be seen here.

Unlikely as it might sound, the two finalists competing against each other were a dating service for people with beards (and those who want to meet people with beards!) called Bristlr and an app which uses augmented reality to signpost locations at outdoor events called skignz.

* The hashtag for the conference is #TDC15 and there is a livestream available.

Sarah Hartley is reporting from the event @foodiesarah