The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to grant Jamaica US $500,000 to help the Caribbean nation launch a BPO incubator. “This will kick-start a new wave of BPOs in Jamaica,” said Yoni Epstein, President of Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica.
The incubator, to be set up in Montego Bay Free Zone, will support both domestic and foreign firms in launching BPO operations in the Caribbean country, whose ICT/BPO industry is worth about US$260 million and accounts for 6% of the Caribbean and Latin American outsourcing market.
The incubator, according to Epstein, will not only give birth to a string of young BPO firms but will also help the country secure more outsourcing contracts, sparking innovation in the technology sector.
With 34 BPO firms, Jamaica’s outsourcing industry has generated more than 14,000 jobs over the past five years, and analysts predict that it will have doubled in size by 2016.
“We have to … focus on maintaining standards in training (and) certification; and we also have to watch the trends in terms of how technology evolves so that we remain at the cutting edge, as a country,” stated Julian Robinson, Jamaica’s Deputy Minister of Commerce and Investment.
“Not only is the incubator needed, I think it will also spur further development,” said Anthony Hylton, the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce. IDB officials, in the meanwhile, have suggested that Jamaica focus on increasing the “viability and competitiveness” of its outsourcing industry.
The Jamaican government recently revealed that its free economic zone in Montego Bay generated US$121 million in foreign exchange earnings in the past fiscal year. Home to several top global BPO firms such as Xerox and Teleperformance, the Free Zone also reported more than 20% growth in employment.