• Entrepreneurship at UBC

Our Top 3 Takeaways from our Fireside Chat with Canadian Icon, Rick Hansen

Updated: Mar 10

Find our top takeaways and a recording of the event featuring Rick Hansen and Dr. Shannon Bard

Pictured: (Photo 1) Rick Hansen, (Photo 2) Dr. Shannon Bard


Championing varying perspectives in venture building and leveraging research and innovation for the masses is absolutely necessary for building a more inclusive world. This is a responsibility shared amongst all entrepreneurs and innovators, and we are so grateful to Rick Hansen and our community for joining us for this important conversation at our most recent Social Venture and Climate Venture Studio event: A Fireside Chat with Rick Hansen, hosted by Dr. Shannon Bard!


Throughout the session, Rick spoke on the vital importance of leveraging an intersectional approach in innovation while looking at the connection between education and research as an opportunity for positive change. A UBC graduate, Rick detailed his journey and impact that has underpinned a global movement, creating solutions that remove barriers for peoples with disabilities while improving lives everywhere. His dedication salmon and sturgeon conservation has transformed the way we look at ecosystems, using values based strategies to unify our economic, culture and ecological ecosystems.


Our community was highly engaged, sharing their perspectives and questions around creating a bridge for inclusivity and building spaces with access, diversity and environmental welfare in mind. Thank you to Rick, his team and the community members who joined us!



Find our key takeaways, and links mentioned throughout the discussion, below and watch a recording of the session here!

Our Top 3 Key Takeaways from our Fireside Chat with Rick Hansen



On the barriers faced by peoples with disabilities:


"Everyone has talent if you have a disability...you're a super navigator, you're a self advocate, you're resilient and you're working upstream against so many barriers and obstacles. You're often the CEO of your destiny and you're mobilizing an exceptional team of people to be able to help you - but you're also navigating through upstream barriers systemically, culturally and economically."


On how inclusive innovation helps everyone:


"A lot of great innovations today in the world that have helped everybody come from people trying to solve problems that capture what we're dealing with right now...[these innovations] started off to help people with disabilities communicate; they couldn't access computers or write or translate...and now its so normal for me to go into my daughters' rooms and see captions on local TV or shows they are watching... [these types of innovations] are helping everybody."


On why we are not making progress fast enough:


"We care about the same things and I think we have to stop asking people to choose...we have to start coming together so we see a healthy and inclusive world and find ways for people to engage and then start to form movement based communities that are bigger than the sum of our parts that then translate into voting and into commerce and into our expectations of our leaders... and ultimately it becomes normal."


Relevant Links and Upcoming events


  • March 11th & 12th: Join the conversation on accessibility for persons with disabilities at #APN2021, the Accessibility Professional Network's 2nd Annual Conference, hosted by the Rick Hansen Foundation. Rick Hansen will be virtually opening APN2021: Accelerating Access conference with the Honorable, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. They will be discussing their respective journeys in navigating Canada’s built environment. They will also share what’s changed and what still needs to be collectively done to create an accessible and healthy world for everyone. Find out more and register here


  • May 5th: BC’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) and Innovate BC are showcasing BC’s best innovations for the aquaculture industry at the BC Aquaculture Innovation Awards! They are encouraging sustainable growth, competitiveness and adaptability of the aquaculture sector in BC by funding innovations that solve challenges faced by aquaculture, for $325,000 in total funding! Applications to apply due March 8th. Find out more and apply here



  • Learn more about ICORD, a spinal cord injury research centre of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and VCH Research Institute.




Thank you to Rick and the entire team at the Rick Hansen Foundation for joining us and sharing your journey!


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