The government of Jamaica this week welcomed delegates from the US, UK, and Ireland on an investment mission to encourage more investment in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
CX Jamaica, a three-day mission organized by JamPro in partnership with Nearshore Americas, was sponsored by local players in the industry and included visits to the country’s two technology hubs, Kingston and Montego Bay, as well as delivery centers operated by Ibex Global, ItelBPO, and VXI Global Solutions.
“Jamaica is open for business and my mantra and philosophy are that we need to roll in the red tape and roll out the red carpet, and we are rolling out the red carpet to all of you today,” said Don Wehby, Chairman of JamPro, during the opening ceremony on October 19.
Delegates attending the event came from numerous industries, with representatives from a major US bank, a ridesharing firm, a digital gaming giant, a healthcare firm, and a travel organization.
During the welcome reception and roundtable discussion at JamPro’s head office in Kingston, Wehby said that Jamaica’s climate was right for investment, noting that he has never seen the country in such a good position in terms of investment and growth during his 21-year career.
“We think that we have a huge competitive advantage in the BPO industry as we have the available human talent and our English is good, which is a competitive advantage,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, major players in the sector echoed Wheby’s reasons as to why Jamaica was a good place to invest.
“Jamaica is the poster child of the Caribbean,” said Yoni Epstein, Chief Executive Officer at ItelBPO as he referenced Jamaica’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
“Not only is there a lot of good things happening in BPO, but there is a lot of good things happening in the economy in Jamaica, including tourism, construction, healthcare, and the creative industry. Jamaica is in the market and is positive on all fronts,” he stressed.
Bob Dechant, CEO of Ibex Global told the delegation that one of the factors that was contributing to the growth of Jamaica’s BPO sector is the country’s proximity to the United States, and that it is was a viable alternative to the Philippines, which, he said, companies were de-risking.
“The Philippines is a massive market, so companies are looking at the markets they can move to where massive volumes can be achieved. There aren’t many markets that can do that, but Jamaica can, as it’s home to the third largest English-speaking population in the Nearshore region, making it a perfect alternative,” Dechant pointed out.
Richard Bledsoe, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at VXI Global, said another advantage that Jamaica has over other countries in the Americas is its stable economy and high levels of security, adding that the spirit and culture of the Jamaican people were closely aligned with the US.
Claude Duncan, Jampro’s Vice President of Investment and Promotions, said that another positive for the country was its robust telecommunications infrastructure.
“Telcos have done a good job of investing in infrastructure countrywide. We have four sub seat fiber cables and we have redundant reef on island and off island,” he said.
Jamaica currently employs some 25,000 people in the BPO sector. Duncan said the intention is to double this figure by 2020.
Kirk Laughlin, Managing Director and Founder of Nearshore Americas, added: “We are careful not to over use hyperbole in our reporting, but there’s no question that Jamaica is ramping into an explosive phase. With multiple big-name players, thousands of new hires, and a goal of hitting 100,000 agents in the next five years, this combines to make it, without question, the hottest market in Nearshore BPO currently.”
Sponsored by Ibex Global, ItelBPO, VXI Global Solutions, and Jampro, CX Jamaica is one of a several successful trade missions organized by Nearshore Americas. Previous tours include Guadalajara and Mexico City, San Jose (Costa Rica), Guyana, and San Pedro Sula, Honduras.