Steven Mifsud, Direct Access, MBE

A profoundly deaf entrepreneur from Nantwich has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Steven Mifsud, founder of Nantwich-based disability accessibility firm Direct Access, has been awarded it for services to International Trade.

Direct Access is a disability accessibility consultancy that advises organisations on how to improve access to premises and services for disabled people.

Established 17 years ago, Direct Access counts household names Avanti West Coast, the Science Museum and Nando’s among its clients.

Steven has led Direct Access to international export success sharing British innovation and expertise in creating accessible environments around the world.

Recent highlights include:
• Leading on the implementation of Universal Design and accessibility standards for the world exposition Expo 2020 Dubai
• Enabling organisations to achieve the vision of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai’s vision of an inclusive city
• Establishing a team of disabled people based in Clearwater, Florida advising public and private sector organisations on accessibility in North America
• Launching an evacuation chair range designed by disabled people with state-wide contracts in the United States and Middle East that creates jobs for disabled people in installation and servicing
• Delivering presentations and training on best practice in accessibility across different industry sectors in Poland, Spain, Canada, United States, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Ireland.

The award recognises Steven’s work with the UK’s Department of International Trade to raise awareness of how small businesses and entrepreneurs can access government support to export.

This may include grants to support trade show attendance, introduction to prospective buyers and information about import and export requirements.

He twice been in the Shaw Trust UK’s top 100 most influential disabled people list and was his hometown Nantwich’s Salt of the Earth award recipient in 2019 for services to the community.

“I am absolutely shocked and delighted to be honoured with an MBE,” he said.

“Ever since I left University my career has been driven by a desire to make the world more inclusive for disabled people.

“Other countries were very receptive to learning from the British experience in creating accessible environments and the legislation involved.

“We have been working very closely with the Department of International Trade and British partnerships to maximise opportunities around the world.

“It has been an honour to work with other small businesses in the UK thinking about exporting.

“If I as a deaf person can successfully export, then what is stopping them?”

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