Universal Access

Published on May 14, 2018 by Seth

Universal Access is creating equal access to opportunity for all community members by reducing barriers. Our team is guided by both lived experience and Universal Design standards, and our Certified Accessible consultants will help you understand the unique relationship between spatial layout, social inclusion and the bottom line impacts to your business.


Universal Access is a Calgary based social enterprise and one of ACCA’s newest members! They provide consulting services around Age Friendly Design, Inclusive Work-Places, and Barrier Free Community.

We chatted with founder, CEO and head-chair, Sean Crump to talk about his work and what it means for the world of co-ops in Alberta.

Mr. Crump, Universal Access is not a co-op, what made you want to join the ACCA?

It was an easy decision. Our core values align with co-ops in Alberta, and we want to work with businesses that are value based.

Why did you start Universal Access?

This business spoke to me on a personal level and I felt good about it. It’s not just about revenue, but the passion behind it. Being passionate allows you to get through challenges.

Where do you see the opportunity for Alberta co-ops, and Alberta businesses in general, to being more accessible?

Overall, when a space is accessible everyone feels included. Everyone can partake. It also solves some key business challenges. Being accessible means having a hiring process that doesn’t discriminate against people with disabilities. For a restaurant it means everyone can access a space. Businesses that have strong values in these areas, and a high business acumen understand the benefit of being a top employer and creating a welcoming space.

We’re seeing change in how this allows for people to interact with a business, and getting to tell a different story. How becoming inclusive can also affect other areas of the business you might not think about.

Accessibility and inclusion is becoming more commonplace, however, where do you see the challenges in adapting best practices?

Education. Having business realize that it’s the right thing to do, but that it also increases their return on investment, their marketing capabilities and public image; which is part of taking on our certification.

As Dandy Brewing Company (full disclosure the interviewer’s brother is an owner of Dandy) experienced it provided extra exposure and spoke directly to people. LEED certification is great, but we’re talking about people and how they are treated and included in your business.

What is a book you would recommend to other leaders?

Daniel Goldman’s Primal Leadership

What’s on the horizon for Universal Access?

We’re wrapping up our time in the RBC Accelerator program and then we’ll be setting up an office at the Trico Changemaker Studio, located at Mount Royal University. We’re also dong a demo-day with Calgary Technologies Inc., and wrapping up a few projects.

We’re also working with groups to develop projects that can be funded by the Enabling Access Fund (this is a great resource for ACCA members!)