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Nantwich firm opens overseas office

Nantwich-based Direct Access has announced the opening of its first international office in Dubai.

Company representatives met with Andrew Jackson, British Consul General to Dubai, at the British Embassy in Dubai to celebrate their arrival in the city.

The need for an office in the United Arab Emirates comes following a number of contract wins in the UAE for the Cheshire firm, which specialises in disability access projects.

The company has already completed work for restaurant chain, Nando’s and consultancy for the Queen’s Birthday Party at the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Work on a construction project is also underway.

Founder and managing director of Direct Access, Steven Mifsud, who is profoundly deaf, headed out to Dubai last year to explore opportunities in the Middle East market.

He said: “I had read that the leader of Dubai wanted the city to be the most accessible in the world by 2020 so this looked like the ideal place to pursue our international ambitions.

“With support from The Department for International Trade we were able to secure matched funding from the European Regional Development Fund in Cheshire for our initial visit to UAE to assist us with our export ambitions. The funding enabled us to attend the AccessAbilities Conference and Exhibition held in Dubai last November.”

The Department for International Trade was also able to provide introductions to the British Embassy team in Dubai who have been instrumental in assisting Direct Access with contract wins.

Steven added: “Just ten months ago we started to look at how we can share British expertise in inclusive design in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“The 2017 launch of the Dubai Universal Design Code by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai was the opportunity we needed to support clients with ensuring compliance with accessibility.

“What makes us unique is all of our team have a disability, providing our clients with unrivalled expertise into the barriers that disabled people face.”

Laura Smith MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: “I’m thrilled to see this Nantwich company growing from strength to strength, particularly in exporting. This local business has become a global success story that we should all be proud of.

“The news is made even more significant by the fact that everybody working at Direct Access has a disability themselves, which I learned recently when I met with the founder.

“Steven Mifsud and the staff at Direct Access are raising awareness of disability access all over the world, whilst providing quality employment for disabled people locally.”

Direct Access has strong ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa region as they look to add further contracts in rail infrastructure, hospitality and retail, education and healthcare sectors. 

In the UK the Cheshire firm’s clients include Wembley Stadium, Virgin Trains, Eurostar and the Houses of Parliament. 

Pictured: Steven Mifsud at the new Dubai office

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