Middle East / North Africa
Funding & Ventures
Dr. Joachim Arnold
Chief Operating Officer
Director - Finance
Director - UK & Ireland
Director - Consulting
In Market Team
Director - Middle East
ME Regional Operations / Middle East Export Strategy Expert
Mark O’Connell is CEO and founder of OCO. Mark has worked in more than 80 countries and has cultivated in depth government, industry and trade association networks across the world.
Core experience includes strategy and policy, business, sector and market analysis and evaluation, business planning, project management and performance review.
Mark is currently a Board Member of the International Economic Development Council.
Gareth is OCO's Commercial Director, responsible for its international office network, partner delivery and its global Consulting business
Gareth has significant experience in leading engagements with both private and public sector clients. His expertise lies in the areas of strategy, international business development and large scale programme management
Gareth has a deep knowledge of Finance, as the Head of Strategy of a large Irish Bank, and direct experience of establishing international operations of a large UK based company. He also worked at the Boston Consulting Group supporting business growth and operations in a variety of markets.
Dr. Joachim Arnold
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Joachim Arnold is OCO’s Chief Operating Officer and Head of OCO Germany, based in Frankfurt. Within the OCO Global Group, he also holds the responsibility for the Division “Lead Generation and Representation Services”. Joachim has 12 years' experience in the field of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and International Trade providing strategic advisory, research and business development services to economic development organisations as well as to private companies expanding to new market.
Joachim has supported some of the world’s leading investment promotion agencies including EDB Singapore, JETRO, Bahrain EDB, UK Department for International Trade, Greater Zurich Area and FrankfurtRheinMain. He is also extensively working with the US economic development organisations such as JobsOhio, Missouri DED, Business Oregon and many others. In addition to his experience in working in investment promotion he is providing trade development services mainly to corporate clients in evaluating foreign market opportunities, developing entry strategies and identifying partners and customers – both for German SMEs expanding abroad as well as for companies planning to access the German market.
Before joining OCO, Joachim worked as Consultant for PM&P in Berlin and Frankfurt, a consulting firm in Economic Development Consulting and Lead Generation. Previously he was a research associate at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, where he was lecturing on FDI related topics and conducted field studies on Regional Development and FDI in emerging Eastern European markets. He wrote his PhD thesis on the spatial evolution of foreign subsidiaries in Germany after graduating with a master degree in Economic Geography.
Joachim started his career at the German State Investment Promotion Agency Hessen Trade & Invest, with the aim of promoting inward investments from the US, Japan and Korea.
Joachim is a Native German speaker and is fluent in English.
Director - Finance
Andrew is the Finance Director at OCO Global and has overall responsibility for all aspects of the Finance, IT and HR functions for the OCO Group. Andrew is a chartered accountant who has over 20 years of post-qualified experience in senior roles involving audit, financial control and financial consultancy for a range of international businesses and public sector organisations.
As well as Andrew’s internal OCO roles, he has provided advice and support for a number of OCO’s clients in order to help them understand the finance and tax implications of their strategic initiatives, such as site location, organisation structure and overseas employment issues.
Andrew previously worked at PwC leading large-scale finance transformation projects for both the Private and Public Sector, across multiple sectors in UK & Ireland, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia. Before this, Andrew led the finance function of a listed construction and cement company in Kuwait and then for a utilities company and an engineering company in Northern Ireland. Andrew started his career as an auditor with BDO Stoy Hayward in London and then as an audit manager with EY in Kuwait, where his portfolio included multi-million turnover manufacturing and retail companies and the audit and worldwide consolidation of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.
Director - UK & Ireland
Colin McCullagh is Director for UK & Ireland for OCO Global and leads the Trade services division OCO Exporting. Colin has a career spanning over 20 years in international trade working for corporations including IBM and LogicaCMG as well as for Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government's export promotion agency.
He has supported companies to entering multiple international markets, with an emphasis on the US and Latin America, where he was the Director for Enterprise Ireland based in Sao Paulo and served as de facto Ambassador of Ireland to Brazil for a period. Colin has successfully served as Project Director on a number of key projects including JETRO European investment attraction, DIT US trade services and Tunisia to UK export support programme on behalf of the FCO.
Colin has a marketing degree from the University of Stirling, studied leadership at INSEAD and is fluent in Portuguese. His strengths are in strategic selling, international expansion, client management and project leadership.
Director - Consulting
Shalini is the Consulting Director at OCO Global, and has overall responsibility for all the consulting and advisory services which OCO offers across its international office network, in both Trade and Investment. Shalini has nearly 15 years’ experience as a management consultant and programme manager in international economic development, with a particular focus on trade and investment.
Shalini has a proven track record in designing, setting up, running and performance managing international economic development operations. Her particular strengths lie in designing large scale programmes and in using data collected from delivering these programmes to generate insights that improve the delivery of targeted interventions. Shalini has regularly used her strong analytical skills, experience in strategy development and evaluation and excellent stakeholder management skills with senior management teams. She is recognised for her ability to deliver practical, sustainable solutions that clarify strategic direction and deliver public value.
Shalini has worked with Economic Development Agencies around the world. In the UK, Shalini has worked extensively with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Department for International Trade. She has also worked extensively overseas, including in Kenya and Uganda running an educational development NGO focused on improving the quality of secondary school education; in Costa Rica on developing a new FDI strategy for the country’s investment promotion agency; and in Lebanon with DFID on running a programme aimed at supporting job creation and safe return for Syrian refugees temporarily residing in Lebanon.
Some of the largest transformational projects she has worked on include setting up and running the UK’s first ever outsourced FDI operation by merging 8 organisations into a single investment promotion agency; designing and implementing the UK’s new export strategy by identifying High Value opportunities which UK consortia are well placed to pursue; and supporting the development and implementation of the National Security Strategy for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
She holds a degree in Modern Languages (Spanish and French) from the University of Cambridge and a Masters in State, Society and Development from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Director - Middle East
Joe Hepworth is the Director for OCO Middle East and is also the founder of our UAE subsidiary, the British Centres for Business, which provides market-entry incubator services to overseas companies. Joe has been living in the Middle East for more than 10 years.
With responsibilities across all market sectors and multiple regional countries, Joe has overseen more than 300 trade & export support projects in the last 5 years; he is also responsible for delivering OCO’s investment attraction services in the region. Joe is the Director for Missouri Department of Economic Development in the Middle East and has managed the UK’s Department of International Trade regional delivery contract since 2013.
Joe’s previous career includes 10 years in the container shipping industry with P&O Nedlloyd & Maersk Line in senior commercial roles in China, Russia, India & Holland. He holds a First Class degree in International Relations from the University of Hull.
ME Regional Operations / Middle East Export Strategy Expert
Vineetha is an experienced International FDI and Trade Development consultant, whose main areas of expertise include sector strategy and development, export advice, market research and location advisory.
She has been with OCO since 2016 where she joined as Trade Consultant. As part of the British Centres for Business, ( a subsidiary of OCO and the delivery partner for the UK’s Department for International Trade) Vineetha has assisted UK companies across multiple sectors successfully set up in the UAE and organise events for them under the aegis of the British Embassy. Her extensive network in the UAE across various sectors has resulted in strategic partnerships between the UK and the UAE private sector leading to major business deals.
Vineetha was also the Associate Director in the Middle East for the state of Missouri’s Department for Economic Development where, from 2016 to 2020, she has overseen 65 projects across sectors including Cleantech, Healthcare, Defense, Aviation, Security, Food & Drink delivering more than USD 10.1 million in verified contracts. During this time, she was also in charge of generating interest in Missouri as an FDI destination for sectors such Agtech and Advanced Manufacturing.
In 2018, she was part of the project team managing international investor profiling and outreach for Abu Dhabi Government’s KIZAD industrial project with many of the world’s biggest companies from the Far East region.
In 2019 she moved into the role of the Regional Operations Manager for OCO leading on business efficiencies whilst supporting companies develop their export strategies that include market research, analysis, and benchmarking to enable companies successfully launch into the UAE.
Between 2004 and 2015 Vineetha worked in various sectors which include Marketing & Branding, Business Process Outsourcing and the Aviation industry with companies like IBM and Emirates Airlines.
Vineetha has lived in the UAE since 2006, prior to which she lived in India. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relations and Journalism.
May Bseiso is a Senior Analyst at OCO Global, one of Europe’s leading trade development and inward investment consultancies.
May oversees marketing for the BCB (which was acquired by OCO Global) both through leveraging existing communication channels and also making sure that the BCB’s online and social media posture is saying the right thing in the right places. Her other primary responsibility is client management in the UAE in terms of coordinating with UAE government departments to ensure that the company formation and licensing processes are managed efficiently and quickly for the BCB’s clients as they enter the market.
May is Jordanian and she has extensive working experience with a number of the world’s biggest organisations in Jordan, such as USAID funded programs and Creative Associates International. Having worked with NGOs for 6 years in Jordan gave May the skills and knowledge needed to confidently navigate and apply USAID rules and regulations to ensure compliant and successful program implementation.
May has good background in project management and good organization skills and interpersonal communication skills working at all levels, which proved to be a critical asset in managing many projects.
Wuraola Ogundimu is an International Trade Consultant with more than five years’ experience in assisting international companies develop their market entry plans into the UAE and wider Middle East.
She has experience working with companies from different industries including food and beverage; construction; health care; oil and gas; information technology; telecommunication; security and military; and retail. Wuraola has assisted companies with strategy for market penetration; competitors’ analysis; sector and industry updates; and distributor and partner search.
She has worked with companies on independent market visits, trade mission participants, and trade shows such as Dubai Airshow, Gulfood, Arab Health; Arab Lab; Gulfood; Woodshow; Idex; and Adipec. Wuraola has also successfully managed several trade missions into the UAE and other GCC countries where she worked closely with several government agencies in the UAE, US, and UK.
In her current role as the Trade Manager for Consumer and Retail, she advises and guides companies from the UK with opportunities in the region.
Abbey Salako is a core member of the Middle East team, with experience across the lead generation service & investment spectrum.
In 2018 Abbey was part of the project team managing international investor profiling, outreach & follow up for Abu Dhabi Government’s KIZAD industrial project with many of the world’s biggest companies. He developed a final strategic report for KIZAD’s management, advising on core sectors and key areas of opportunities.
Since mid-2019, Abbey has been the project lead for District 2020 (the main legacy project of Expo 2020 Dubai) managing an international team identifying & contacting with prospective investors in the project worldwide. He has also worked with EDOs and exporters on independent market visits and managing missions to many of the Middle East’s leading trade shows such as, GITEX, MedLab, Gulfood, Dubai Airshow, The Big 5, The Hotel & Leisure Show and AI Everything.
Abbey has led on OCO’s healthcare work across multiple clients and in 2019 managed delegations for US State EDOs Business Oregon, Mississippi Economic Development Council and supported Missouri DED at the Arab Health trade show in the UAE where he managed the arrangements for more than 20 US companies with a full programme of introductions & meetings with carefully research local business opportunities. Abbey also provided support to Missouri DED’s delegates at Arab Health 2020, facilitating introductions & meetings on behalf of the delegates with more than 20 UAE-based healthcare companies.
Since 2017, Abbey has been managing a portfolio of sectors for the UK’s Department for International Trade in the UAE including healthcare, manufacturing, construction, oil & gas, events, automotive, food & beverage, technology, retail and education. His developed network, experience, and strong relationships with top-level key decision makers across multiple sectors and industries enables him to gain access and interest with private companies.
Abbey has been in the UAE since 2018, prior to which he lived in Nigeria and the UK. He has a bachelor’s degree in business & management from the UK and is an accredited member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is also a member of the US-headquartered Project Management Institute (PMI), having recently completed his Project Management Professional program (PMP).
James is International Trade & Project Manager of OCO Global Middle East. Based in Dubai, UAE, James manages trade services for companies interested in expanding into the Middle East, offering them bespoke assessments of the Middle Eastern market, creating market entry and growth strategies to help accelerate business development in market.
James joined OCO Global in 2018 to manage the technology, education, healthcare & life sciences sectors. Since joining OCO he has run multiple trade missions and market briefings for Arab Health, GITEX, AI Everything, GESS, Arab Lab & CABSAT.
James also works to support Santander Bank, Capita PLC, British Columbia Technology Association with their Middle East market research, briefings, introductions and trade missions. This year James has generated over USD500k in export wins for Capita PLC’s scaling partners through his market introductions alone.
James previous career includes working with New Zealand Trade & Investment, New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment & Invest Northern Ireland. Since joining OCO James has continued relations with NZTE through market research and market briefings for New Zealand healthcare delegates.
James was born and raised in Dubai, he holds a double-degree from the University of Otago’s School of Business, Dunedin. He is engaged to be married and has a dog called Junior.
Diana Takorabet has joined OCO in November 2019 as a Junior Consultant within OCO’s Consulting and Advisory Services division. She has worked on a variety of trade and investment management projects for high-profile clients for which she has conducted numerous primary and secondary research and FDI Intelligence data analysis.
Public sector clients include adapting UK Department of International Trade's trainings to remote delivery as a result of Covid-19, developing a market prioritisation strategy for the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA) inward investment organisation Invest Bristol & Bath, providing strategic analysis on industry sectors for the Saudi Arabian Inward Investment Authority (SAGIA), conducting market research, interviews and building a model that aim to help strengthen the Tunisian economy to be resilient to the global pandemic, under the supervision of the North Africa Technical Assistance Facility (NATAF).
Diana has also worked for UNESCO where she was engaged in projects contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals across different fields: education, culture and social and human sciences.
Danilo Batinga is a Junior Consultant at OCO Global. Danilo has more than five years of experience in research, data analysis, handling big data sets and transforming it to sensible insights vital in crafting strategies. He is highly regarded to have a strong problem-solving skill with entrepreneurial approach to problems leading to innovative solutions.
Since joining OCO, Danilo has worked on a wide range of projects in investment and trade helping Investment Promotion Agencies in the UK, Middle East, and Latin America with their investment attraction strategies.
Danilo has worked with multi-national companies in the Philippines: McKinsey & Company, Citibank, and Thomson Reuters. He co-founded Roots Katipunan, a social enterprise in the Philippines, and have a very strong interest in businesses.
Danilo has a degree in Business Management from Ateneo de Manila University. He also completed the Introduction to Corporate Finance online course from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Noha Aldhahri is a Junior Consultant at OCO Global with more than 4 years of experience in Consultancy and Project Management, Noha is highly regarded for her strong communication and problem-solving skills. Her work in OCO includes conducting research to monitor Global FDI trends, analysing qualitative and quantitative data, content development, and creating proposals for prospective clients.
Since Joining OCO Noha worked in a range of projects including: Saudi Arabia Industrial Clusters Programme as well as Invest Ottawa’s (Canada) Investment Strategy Review, assisting in identifying trends and helping to develop the clients investment promotion strategy.
Noha has also worked on multiple projects for the UK Department of International Trade including: DIT’s Covid-19 Resilience Analysis Programme, DIT’s Financial Services Research and FDI Academy Attracting & Winning Investment.
Before her time at OCO Global Noha worked in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as a Project Manager in the Health Consultancy Industry.
Noha holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biotechnology from Abdul-Aziz University. Noha speaks English and Arabic with native proficiency.
Amjed is part of OCO’s Consulting and Advisory Services. He is a solution-driven consultant diagnosing a range of problems, from small businesses to multi-million-dollar corporations, and ideating solutions. He leads and design quantitative and qualitative desk-based research from a range of sources. Amjed also develop proposals for new and existing clients with the aim of client attraction. His main strengths rely in his discipline, dedication and client first mindset.
At OCO, Amjed contributes to client deliverables in the FDI project lifecycle starting from investment strategy, promotion until monitoring. He leads projects through developing project plans, risk registers & reporting templates. He is responsible for analysing FDI intelligence data concerning trade shows, company analysis & new investors using OCO's own tool; Velociti, as well as FDI Markets. Nevertheless, he builds & decide on a multitude of thought leadership projects about FDI trends & development. On another note, he’s involved in setting up stakeholder interviews & workshops for clients. Amjed travel across the region for client support and presentations to board members & project team, as well as attending market engagement events in different parts of the region.
Amjed has been involved on multiple projects both locally and globally. His local expertise is delivered through his work for Abu Dhabi Investment Office. He helped them in attracting investors to Abu Dhabi particularly involved in the technology and manufacturing sector. Amjed aids in conducting FDI analysis, identification of key players and source markets. Amjed’s role extend in creating value proposition for Abu Dhabi tailored to a multitude of sectors that are of interest.
His regional involvement is also evident through his work with the Saudi Industrial Clusters on n its strategy to attract investments to 9 industries particularly looking at the demand side and supply side to create value proposition materials that will be used when conversing to the private sectors. Globally, he has been involved with OCO's work with the DIT for sector profiling, list building and more.
Technically, he possesses strong analytical and problem-solving skills that were further enhanced in his experience in market research. Amjed is creative, energetic and have a thirst for knowledge. He’s also cheerful and positive even under adverse circumstances. Amjed has a valuable 2 years’ experience in Market Research across the MENA region working at The Regional Research Centre for Ipsos MENA.