Caribbean offers prime location for business process outsourcing
The global market for business process outsourcing (BPO) is currently valued at USD $1 trillion with cross-border outsourced services trade between countries estimated at US$88.9 billion per year in 2015.
The Caribbean is carving out its niche within this global industry with the number of BPO operators and jobs growing exponentially. One company that’s thrived since outsourcing to the Caribbean is the Dutch-owned company Cimpress (Vistaprint).
Vistaprint Jamaica Ltd. began operations in Montego Bay in 2003 to provide contact centre services for Cimpress (Vistaprint), a company based in the Netherlands which specialises in the mass customisation of marketing materials and web-to-print systems. By 2008, Vistaprint Jamaica was the first subsidiary of Cimpress (Vistaprint) to have a dedicated graphic design services unit. Between 2010 and 2012 it had some 600 employees and had constructed a state of the art customer service facility worth USD$25 million.
With the growing trend to outsource business processes to nearshore markets, and, governments, business representatives and other stakeholders throughout the Caribbean are seeking to capitalise on the potential economic benefits afforded by this sector.
Over 100 stakeholders will meet later this year in Jamaica to explore various avenues to secure BPO investment and to demonstrate to potential investors the advantages of doing business in the Caribbean.
Caribbean BPO services providers, government officials, telecommunications firms and training institutions will come together at the first-ever Outsource to the Caribbean Conference (OCC)which will take place on December 6, 2017, at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel in Montego Bay.
The Conference, which is organised by the Caribbean Export Development Agency in conjunction with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) will be held under the theme “Leveraging the Nearshore Caribbean for Outsourcing Services”.
OCC2017 is being funded in part by the EU via the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and comes at a time when the Caribbean region is emerging as one of the most attractive destinations for BPO.
Prime place for international companies to invest and outsource
Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke Hamilton, explained why the Caribbean is the prime place for international companies to invest and outsource their services.
“The Caribbean is a reliable business partner; it has one of the lowest perceived risks in the Latin America - Caribbean region, is politically stable with well-functioning institutions, efficient government and low levels of corruption. The overall regulatory system is conducive to business activities.”
The President of CAIPA, Ms. Diane Edwards (who is also the President of JAMPRO) pointed out that the Caribbean’s geographic location makes the region a perfect gateway to markets in North, Central and South America. “And with the growing need for mainland North American firms to outsource functions to a competitively priced and easily accessible destination, the Caribbean is well positioned as a nearshore solution.”
According to Edwards, the region is also well placed to offer services to not only North America, but also Europe and South America, given the strong multi-lingual talent pool in the region.
Edwards also posited that beyond the talent pool, companies outsourcing business to the Caribbean have a wealth of other advantages.
These include a supportive regulatory framework with many territories offering special economic zones where service providers can benefit from reduced tax benefits; low real estate costs and a cost-efficient infrastructure, allowing for low operational costs.
“The Caribbean,” she concluded, “has ably demonstrated, time and again, that it has much to offer.”