A START-up expert and mentor has been appointed as the new director of the University of Southampton’s start-up accelerator Future Worlds to pursue a vision of Southampton as a global powerhouse of tech start-ups.

Ben Clark, a Southampton alumnus (Master of Business Administration, 2002), brings extensive leadership experience to the role including spells at several tech start-ups and spin-outs.

He succeeds Future Worlds founder Reuben Wilcock, who has taken up a new role with venture capital firm Blackfinch Ventures, but will now support the unit as one of the network of mentors helping students and staff convert their own ideas into valuable businesses.

Mr Clark has assisted university entrepreneurs as a resident mentor in Future Worlds for the past two years and was previously the interim director for six months in 2017. He will oversee a growing core team.

He said: “I always resonated with Future Worlds’ vision, which is what drew me back to the university, and I am honoured to have been selected as its new director.

“As every startup knows, momentum is key; we now have a great opportunity for Future Worlds to propel Southampton towards becoming a global powerhouse for tech start-ups. There are so many more success stories to come.

“Start-ups from this university are right now standing shoulder to shoulder in Silicon Valley with the most promising start-ups from around the world.

“Each success story builds the momentum and compounds the impact created, which is why I’m so excited to continue this transformational journey.”

Future Worlds, which opened its on-campus Accelerator Space last Autumn, acts as a start-up accelerator at the University of Southampton, helping to nurture aspiring entrepreneurs and cutting-edge technologies through events, one-to-one support and its network of seasoned founders, investors and millionaire entrepreneurs.

Future Worlds is also the delivery partner for the Z21 Innovation Fund, an initiative founded by the Web Science Institute, also based at the university.