Steven Mifsud
Direct Access Founder Steven Mifsud has been awarded an MBE for services to International Trade in the Queen’s 2021 Birthday Honours list.

Profoundly deaf Steven Mifsud, Founder of disability accessibility firm Direct Access, has been awarded an MBE for services to International Trade in the Queen’s 2021 Birthday Honours list.

Based in Wrexham, Direct Access is a disability accessibility consultancy that advises organisations on how to improve access to premises and services for disabled people. Established seventeen years ago, Direct Access counts household names Avanti West Coast, the Science Museum and Nando’s amongst 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 accessibility standards for the world exposition Expo 2020 Dubai; enabling organisations in Dubai to become more inclusive; advising public and private sector organisations on accessibility in North America; launching an evacuation chair range in the United States and Middle East that creates jobs for disabled people; and delivering training on best practice in accessibility across different industry sectors around the world.

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.

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Steven has been twice 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. Steven and Direct Access were the UK Department of International Trade Export Champions for both 2020 and 2021.

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

“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?” adds Steven.

Established in 2004, Direct Access advises organisations on physical access to premises. At the height of the COVID pandemic, Direct Access became a crucial supplier of a clear vision panel device for deaf and hard of hearing people to lipread the wearer.

The firm most recently secured a four-year NHS Shared Business Services framework contract to supply sign language interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing patients.

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