London vs Sheffield battle of the brainiest cleared for Tech Off in Shoreditch

An innovative competition will pit the North vs the South in a clash of some of the brightest tech-minds in Britain.

The Tech Off! will serve as a platform via which new and upcoming voices in technology can share their ideas. On March 7th Cargo Nightclub in Shoreditch, London, will play host to a ‘North Vs. South’ competition, pitting some of Britain’s best brains against each-other. The event comprises 10 speakers who each have five minutes to pitch an idea of their choice to a roaring crowd. If someone should go over the 5 minute limit, they will be carried off stage by a duo of wrestlers, WWE Style! The wrestling duo: The Fabulous Bakewell Boys, are the theatrical, but effective, security team. The crowd’s cheers determine the winner, who will be presented with a champions belt and a chance to defend their title at the next Tech Off.


The inventors of The Tech Off! event, Tech Dept, are a Sheffield based company that collaborated with City of Maker’s Sheffield to put on the event. City of Maker’s is a community organisation that celebrates innovation. Their website says that they encourage “everything from advanced manufacturing, specialist steels, forged products, cutting tools, flanges, bearings and blades to award-winning theatre, international art and design, ground-breaking research and world class talent.”

“The Tech Dept is based in Sheffield and most of our clients are in London, so that’s why we started the event in London,” said Tech Dept CEO Daniel Kirby. “We’ve been running the event for about four years.”

Because of the unique aspects of the event, The Tech Off! was invited all over the world, including Austin, Texas’s SXSW. There they met the City of Makers.

“We got chatting to them about how we could build our relationship and because the Tech Dept is based in Sheffield and we built this event in London so we’ve got a big community of people who know of our event.

“So we said why don’t we do an event together that helps promote Sheffield and the north in London and using our community and event format?

“The City of Makers are bringing people down from the north. So we decided to do a North vs. South event” said Daniel Kirby.

Tech Dept and City of Makers have asked five “northerners” who work in technology to “battle for the belt.”  These are: Ruth Amos, Nick Bax, Martyn WareJenni Chocrane and Alison Clark.



We spoke with Ruth Amos, a Sheffield based public speaker, who will be competing in the event. She said: “I co-founded ‘Kids Invent Stuff,’ a youtube channel that brings to life kids inventions, we use lots of different tech to make this happen. I’ve also run several businesses linked in some way to tech. I started my first business at 16, so I’ve had over a decade working with tech of different types.”

When asked about The Tech Off! competition, Ruth said she wasn’t interested in trash talk: “I want to have fun and I want to see what everyone else is doing. That’s not really what I’m supposed to say is it? I’m supposed to say that I’m there and I’m going to squash everyone.

“I’m just really excited to be alongside so many people who are making cool things in Tech. I don’t think people realise how wide technology is.

“I think it’s really great to showcase some of the projects that are happening in the north and the south and to show that there are great things happening with tech at all different levels all across the country.”