Since the motto of the EconoUs conference is “building an economy for all people,” it only makes sense that the venues, tours, and programs are as accessible as possible.
Enter Universal Access, an auditing company that certifies public spaces based on their ability to accommodate people with disabilities.
“I think ‘us’ precludes to inclusion,” says Universal Access CEO Sean Crump. “And ‘us’ is a big word. When saying that, you need to talk to the society that you’re doing the event for. Excluding an entire demographic is not in that spirit. It’s refreshing that EconoUs takes that very seriously.”
Universal Access was invited by Momentum and Thrive – host of EconoUs – to audit every aspect of the event. Sean, a wheelchair user living with quadriplegia, is committed to making the events as accessible as possible.
The exhibition floor will be hosted at Hotel Arts, which is currently in the process of being audited and certified by Universal Access. Since the event is across many venues, Universal Access will be only auditing, not certifying.
The auditing process will follow Universal Design guidelines, catering to the full spectrum of disabilities where possible. For those venues that are not already accessible, they will rent equipment such as ramps, where possible.
“It feels amazing to have this opportunity as a young company,” says Sean, who founded Universal Access in January. EconoUs is both the first event and multi-venue audit under his belt.
“The core values of EconoUs align really well with what we want to do. We’re working with Momentum, a business that cares as much as we do about accessibility.”
Sean hopes that this will lead to more events being audited by Universal Access.
“I’m certainly thankful for this chance, and hopefully we can do it some justice.”