Supplier Award

Direct Access is honoured to have been the recipient of the Sustainability prize at the Expo 2020 supplier awards; an Expo-curated event that celebrates and rewards the creative minds and businesses who contributed to the 2022 edition of the international world’s fair. Emphasising the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, and a mindful approach to sustainability, the ceremony confirmed the appointment of Direct Access as a standout among 3200 other firms delivering services to the site, which attracted over 24 million visitors across its duration.

After the uphill battle brought by the pandemic as we started exporting to the Middle East, this Sustainability award was a humbling surprise to all of Direct Access. Our founder, Steven, flew out last minute to Dubai to accept the award on the team’s behalf (we assumed they would only ask us to travel across the world in a scenario where we the winners. And thankfully, we were correct).

Receiving this award got us thinking just how far we have grown – not just in terms of our expansion as an international consultancy, but also our work at Expo, which grew concurrently with our increasing service requests in countries as far as Australia, the United States and Canada.

In fact, when we first won the contract in 2018 to be the Universal Design Consultants for what was to become the first world expo in the Middle East, our initial services to the event were modest – and largely involved advising on the design of the architecture, finish specifications, as well as ancillary aids across the 438-hectare facility. Since then, it was decided by Expo that 80% of the site will be preserved and transformed into an “Expo city” with residential and commercial areas.

To us, this is an incredibly surreal concept. The idea that buildings, which we directly advised on the builds for, and collaborated with some of the most skilled architects in order to create, combining to make an entire city, is truly incredible and beyond what we expected to ever deliver to Expo 2020.

The following year, in 2019, Direct Access was then offered a second contract to assist guest services and develop accessible programming and curation, which saw our consultancy audit all the “touch points” for local and international visitors, working to create a seamless event that overcame potential barriers for disabled people (“People of Determination”, in the UAE).

As Expo was postponed due to the pandemic, Direct Access’ relationship with Expo then expanded further, resulting in a third and fourth contract win in 2021 in the lead-up to the event, where we supplied our disability evacuation chairs and induction loops to the entire facility, with the single exception to this being the international pavilions themselves.

Our luck with contracts aside (and with a little benefit of hindsight), we believe our win may have been the result of our curation of multiple accessibility firsts in the UAE. Most notably, introducing the first changing places facility to the Middle East region, as well as heavily promoting the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard at Expo. This small, but crucial step towards global accessibility awareness, resulted in an endorsement from Her Excellency, Reem Al Hashemy (UAE Minister of State for International Co-Operation).

As a global hub for showcasing innovation, as well as a wider attraction for the general public, we believe this all but confirms that Expo lived up to the goal of “creating the future”, as well as a better and more empathetic world for us all, not just disabled people.

Steven eloquently commented on our victory on his social media platforms;

“After a difficult personal year, this has really put a massive smile on my face. Out of excess of 3200 suppliers, our firm somehow managed to stand out above all others in the area of sustainability, which is at the heart of what we do. Thank you to the whole Expo team, and everyone who has supported our goals to bring accessibility and inclusion to the world in any capacity”.


Direct Access Consultancy Limited
Room 2, Regent House
Princes Court
Beam Heath Way
Nantwich, CW5 6PQ.

Tel: 0845 056 4421.

How Can We Help You Today?

A member of our award-winning accessibility team will be in contact.
If you would like to communicate in a specific way, please let us know.

Search our website