Kingston, Jamaica, July 2, 2014 – Jamaica’s fast-growing business process outsourcing industry (BPO) is projecting a growth rate of 50 per cent in the next two years, and the creation of 7,000 new jobs.
Some of that growth is expected to be facilitated by the creation of a business incubator for BPO businesses to be developed with a USD500,00 Compete Caribbean grant.
The industry’s potential was estimated by president of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), Yoni Epstein, at the signing ceremony at the IDB’s Jamaica office in New Kingston on July 2. The grant is the biggest thing to happen to our industry for many years. It will kick start the new wave of BPO in Jamaica, he said.
The grant will finance an incubation centre in the Montego Bay Free Zone to assist new investors to more easily enter the Jamaican BPO market. Jamaica is well established as a destination of choice. There is also more room for Jamaican investors, as there is strong domestic demand from banks, hotels and insurance companies, Epstein further explained.
Minister of Investment, Industry and Commerce, Anthony Hylton said: The grant is well placed and timely, and will spur further investment in the sector. The incubation space will make it easier for BPO businesses to transition from the start up period to cementing themselves in the industry. The BPO is the fasted growing sector, attracting investment almost every month.
Epstein revealed that the sector currently employs 14,000 persons, and has the potential to generate US$15 million for the local economy. BPO operators in Jamaica now earn upwards of US$350 million annually, and that figure is expected to increase by 50 per cent, along with an additional 7,000 new jobs, should efforts focused on growing the sector remain successful.
He believes the country is emerging as a regional hub for the provision of BPO services largely through well-developed and reliable infrastructure, a highly literate workforce, excellent telecommunication facilities, competitive labour costs and near-shore advantage. The sector can grow to employ as many as 45,000 professional, before it becomes saturated.
The grant was signed by Epstein; Harold Arzu, Operations Senior Specialist at IDB; Marie Legault, Counsellor and Head, Development Cooperation Department of Government of Canada (the Government of Canada); and Bhavna Sharma, Acting Team Leader, Governance Department for International Development, United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).
The BPIAJ was launched in September 2012 in Kingston and in Montego Bay in November of the same year. It comprises 25 organizations that share the goal of increasing the competitiveness of the BPO industry. Fourteen of these are BPO companies, seven are private enterprises and four are public organizations.
Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region. The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Canada (the Government of Canada), supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries. Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.
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