Players in the growingg domestic Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/ICT sector, which is currently valued at well over US$200 million (J$18 billion), have banded together to form the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) with the support of JAMPRO – the national investment and export promotion agency.
According to Epstein, the formation the BPIAJ is in keeping with the international practice in countries that enjoy sustained success in the BPO/ICT sector. He noted that the inception of the BPIAJ at this time was critical, and represents a private sector-led charge to lobby the government for the right policies and tools that will ensure the growth of the sector.
“We have 26 BPO/ICT companies in Jamaica and many of them are small. We want to make it our duty to help those small players grow their businesses as well. There is also a need for unity within our sector, and through this association, we will achieve that,” stated Epstein.
He indicated that areas of immediate focus of the newly formed association would include access to ready built space, cyber-crime legislation, development of a training curriculum recognised by the global industry, the establishment of a business incubator to allow start-ups to test the waters and public transportation issues related to the movement of staff. Epstein added that he was looking forward to strengthening the existing working relationship with JAMPRO, which has provided invaluable support to the industry, as well as the relevant ministries and state agencies.
In 2010/2011, ICT/BPO investments facilitated by JAMPRO totalled J$3.2 billion, and created 2,583 jobs. For 2011/2012 financial year, JAMPRO-facilitated investments created some 4,729 jobs, with 51% of this total being attributable to the ICT sector. The Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries (JCSI), which is housed within JAMPRO, provided assistance with the legal registration of the BPIAJ through the instrumentality of its newly developed Association Formation Guide.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, in his address to the gathering at the launch, welcomed the formation of the BPIAJ, describing it as an important step towards realising the Vision 2030 Plan to use ICT to “enhance national productivity, efficiency and wealth”.
“By organizing yourselves, you have not only enhanced Jamaica’s reputation in the world, you are bringing even greater definition and structural integrity, to ensure that we build a BPO industry that will be a global benchmark,” stated Minister Hylton.
He added, “The formation of the BPIAJ is a tangible demonstration of our resolve to transform our economy through worthwhile ICT investments…I am very confident that the BPIAJ will bring the requisite thought leadership and collaboration to ensure that we build an industry that we will be proud of, and that will marvel the world.”
The local BPO industry, which currently employs some 11,500 workers, has been identified by the government as a priority sector in its development plan for the country. Global industry watchers have noted that Jamaica is well positioned to address the growing needs of the near-shore market business. Worldwide BPO spending has been increasing, and according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the global BPO market will grow at an annual rate of 9% and reach about US$1 trillion by 2014.
Source: JAMPRO News ReleaseCONTACT: M. Thomas Head, JAMPRO Corp Communications firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone: (876) 978-7755
ICT among targeted growth sectors
Jamaica’s growing reputation as a top Caribbean destination for investment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other key growth sectors is set to take centre stage on March 1-2, 2012, as the island lays out the red carpet for investors seeking opportunities in the region’s largest English-speaking economy.
The Jamaica Investment Forum 2012, which will be staged at the new Montego Bay Convention Centre, will focus on the business opportunities that exist in ICT, as well as other priority areas such as Tourism, Manufacturing and major privatization and development projects.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, will head a high profile slate of local and international speakers at the Forum, which is being organized by JAMPRO, the country’s investment promotion agency, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Compete Caribbean Programme. The opening of the event will feature presentations from Anthony Hylton, the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and a high-level representative from the IDB.
The sectoral session on ICT will focus on opportunities in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT Export Services (ITES) and will feature a mix of information and testimonials from expert panellists and existing investors. Among the confirmed speakers for this session are Connie Harvey, EVP, COO, Commercial Solutions, ACS, A Xerox Company; Dr. Harsh Muthal, CEO Tholons Inc.; Ambassador Patrick Casserly, Special Envoy for ICT; and Helena Lawson Brooks, SVP- Specialty Operations, Convergys Corporation. Phillip Vandervoort, Head of Business and Marketing Operations, Microsoft, is scheduled to deliver a presentation during the investment climate plenary.
Participants will have the opportunity to see first-hand some of the select investment projects on specially arranged JAMPRO site visits and private meetings. Prime Minister Simpson Miller will also host a welcome reception at which participants will be able to meet members of the Jamaican Government and senior leaders in the private and public sectors. A special “Jamaica Night” reception will cap off a comprehensive social programme that will offer participants, diverse opportunities for leisure, tours and sightseeing.
Jamaica is home to four of the world’s top 10 outsourcing companies, and currently has over 11,000 full-time agents in the offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. With nearshore access to the United States, a neutral English accent, low attrition rates and high labour force availability among secondary and university graduates, Jamaica continues to offer a very strong value proposition for BPO investors.
Most recently, Jamaica landed a major investment from Convergys Corporation, one of the largest agent-assisted customer service companies in the world. The company is projected to employ nearly 1,000 persons when its first call centre slated for Montego Bay becomes fully staffed in 2012.
The Jamaica Investment Forum will provide potential investors with insightful information pertaining to the Government of Jamaica’s investment policies and incentive regimes; and networking opportunities among existing investors and leaders in the local business community. The Forum has received strong backing from the local business community. Among the many local sponsors are: FLOW/Columbus Communications, LIME, Digicel, Jamaica Public Service Company, and the Bank of Nova Scotia.