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NPAW 2021: Becoming an Entrepreneur: Building a Business and Launching a Company

Date & Time

Friday, 24 September 2021 - 1:00pm to Friday, 24 September 2021 - 2:30pm
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Online via Zoom


Postdoctoral Fellows Office


What does it take to build and launch a successful business? In celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week, hear from a panel of entrepreneurs and company founders about entrepreneurship and the process of building a company. This panel is hosted by Dr. Konrad Walus, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; UBC and Co-Founder; Aspect Biosystems, and features:

  • Dr. Shannon Bard - Entrepreneur in Residence and Co-Lead, Climate Venture Studio; UBC
  • Dr. Aria Hahn - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Koonkie Cloud Services
  • Mr. Chang Han - Entrepreneur in Residence; UBC
  • Mr. Blair Simonite - Entrepreneur in Residence; UBC

This event is part of 2021 National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Click here for a list of all NPAW events!


Dr. Konrad Walus

Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; UBC and Co-Founder; Aspect Biosystems

Biography Coming Soon


Dr. Shannon Bard - Entrepreneur in Residence and Co-Lead, Climate Venture Studio; UBC

Dr. Shannon Bard

Dr. Shannon Bard is the Lead of the Climate Venture Studio at the University of British Columbia, working to accelerate the translation of climate solutions research to impact.  She also coached science-based cleantech, healthtech, and social ventures through Venture Connection & Foresight Cleantech Accelerator.  She has over 30 years experience in innovation and R&D in climate solutions, environmental sustainability, ecosystem & human health.  Shannon was previously the global Director of Innovation for the environmental consultancy Hemmera and parent engineering firm Ausenco. Formerly, Shannon was a professor of Environmental Science at Dalhousie University, Director of the Marine Ecotoxicology Laboratory and co-winner of the Senate Environmental Award. She is a graduate of Stanford University, Université de Nantes, MIT & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Dr. Aria Hahn - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Koonkie Cloud Services

Dr. Aria Hahn

Dr. Aria Hahn is the Co-Founder of Koonkie, where she strives to capture both the scientific truths and clients' vision by designing custom analytical platforms. Koonkie shortens the path to data-driven discovery and innovation using machine learning algorithms and scalable software tools in the cloud. Effectively working with big data remains a bottleneck to decision making and the bottom line for many companies. They specialize in integrating a wide range of physical, chemical and biological parameters to optimize product development and improve process controls across industrial and academic sectors.

Dr. Hahn’s background is in metagenomics and bioinformatics. She is passionate about the application of high performance data analytics and believes that combined with intelligent statistical and computational technologies, data hold the answers to many burgeoning questions facing multiple industries today.

Chang Han - Entrepreneur in Residence; UBC

Chang Han

Chang Han is an entrepreneur, consultant-investor, and professor, specializing in entrepreneurship, startup growth strategy and market entry. While he started his professional career as an attorney - first as a litigator in the U.S., then as in-house Intellectual Property counsel for an international bank in Asia - he spent the last 14 years back in Vancouver as a co-founder, business consultant, and teacher. He co-founded 3 businesses in biotech, international trade for sports performance beverages, and electric mountain bikes that are currently active, and has invested and/or consulted for several startups in urban mining, CPG and tech. In addition to consulting and advisory for SME’s, he often acts as in-house counsel or Chief Legal Officer for incorporation of startups, IP, contracts, regulatory, and HR, and teach entrepreneurship and innovation at BCIT in addition to being an instructor with the e@UBC programs and being the Lead Entrepreneur in Residence.

Blair Simonite - Entrepreneur in Residence; UBC

Blair Simonite

Blair Simonite teaches entrepreneurship and innovation at the Sauder School of Business, and is the founding Program Director emeritus for entrepreneurship@UBC, the university’s venture incubator/accelerator that helps UBC students, faculty, staff and alumni learn entrepreneurial skills and build successful new ventures. Blair is currently the e@UBC Leadership Development Entrepreneur-in-Residence, working with entrepreneurs to help them advance their ventures.  At UBC he has helped hundreds of UBC entrepreneurs and their ventures on their startup journey, a journey from early stage to exit that he has done several times as an insider, advisor, and board member. Blair has a particular interest in ventures whose goal is to apply technology to create positive impact for people, society and the environment.


Registration for this session has now closed. Those successfully registered will receive a registration confirmation within one week of the session date.

NO-SHOW PENALTY: If you register and do not attend or cancel after 3pm on the day before the event, it may affect your eligibility to join future events. To avoid this no-show penalty, please cancel by at least 3pm the day before the event by e-mailing


If you have a disability or medical condition that may affect your full participation in the event, please email in advance of the event.


The PDFO has created a community agreement for our events in order to foster an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful environment in which all event attendees feel safe and supported.

By participating in a PDFO event, we commit ourselves to:

  • Treating one another with kindness, courtesy and respect in all interactions;
  • Engaging in gracious, active listening and valuing others’ opinions;
  • Not dominating discussions so that others can share during the session;
  • Ensuring that any potentially confidential or sensitive information shared as part of the session is not shared outside of the session;
  • Actively participating in the session; and
  • In online sessions, when possible and if comfortable sharing audio and/or video to create a greater sense of community and participation.


This panel will be delivered online via Zoom. The following suggestions may help to improve the online experience:

  • Use headphones to reduce noise and avoid feedback between your mic and speaker.
  • Ensure that you are in a quiet location so that the audio does not get polluted with unwanted noise.
  • Keep your microphone on mute unless you are speaking during the session.
  • In case of technical problems, time for plugin downloads, etc., please attempt to log into the Zoom meeting 10-15 minutes before the start. You will be placed in the waiting room until the official start time.