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itel-BPO expanding in Kingston and Montego Bay as client base grows

Published:Friday | March 11, 2016 | 3:00 AMTameka Gordon
Yoni Epstein, CEO of itel-BPO Solutions.

Yoni Epstein is investing a billion dollars, the equivalent of US$8.5 million, to expand his company itel-BPO Solutions deeper into Kingston, while also building out additional floor space at his main operating base in Montego Bay.

The added space in both cities comes with the growth of the business process outsourcing company's client base. In four years, itel-BPO has grown from one client served by five employees at its launch in 2012 to 14 clients today. It employs some 550 workers spread across Kingston and Montego Bay, as well as an overseas centre in The Bahamas.

The company will take on another 200 employees, said Epstein, itel-BPO's chief executive officer.

Around four of the new clients were signed up in the last two years, prompting the company to expand its operational space.

itel-BPO has mainly overseas clients, Epstein said, but did not name the companies served. His company provides customer and sales services to clients that span travel and tourism, telecommunications, utilities, medical billing and coding, and online retail sectors, among others.

$1.03-billion investment

The US$8.5 million ($1.03 billion) of new investment will be spent on setting up a 20,000-square-foot centre at

the Central Sorting Office building

in Kingston, under subleasing arrangements with GK Investments, as well as the doubling of itel-BPO's 15,000-square-foot headquarters in Montego Bay.

"That overall figure is just for the development and build-out of space," Epstein said.

The sublease from GK Investments follows the deal inked last year between the Postal Corporation of Jamaica and the GraceKennedy subsidiary to transform the Central Sorting Office complex into rental space aimed at the BPO sector.

Financing for itel-BPO's expansion is still being finalised, but some of the funds will be sourced from the PetroCaribe Development Fund, Epstein said.

Of the US$8.5 million, about US$1.5 million will retrofit the second floor of the CSO building in Kingston. The company will retain its current Cross Roads location in that city.

"In Montego Bay, our expansion will be in conjunction with Caribbean Resources Limited and the total project will be an investment of US$7 million," Epstein said. Caribbean Resources is a real estate company which owns the buildings in which itel-BPO's operations are housed.

In the early phase of the expansion project, the addition of operating space is to get under way in June and wrap up by the first quarter of 2017, the company said.

The Montego Freeport site is eventually to be built out to 70,000 square feet over the next three years, said Epstein.

Under the immediate project, staff count will grow to 750.

"We have 100 employees in Kingston; now we will be increasing that to 200. Montego Bay will be increased to 450, so the expansion will take us to just around 750 employees," said Epstein.

Under the medium-term plan, with the full execution of the expansion programme, itel-BPO aims to eventually double its employees to 1,400, the businessman said.

Last year, itel-BPO began to diversify, launching itel-Media, a digital media marketing firm; itel-Travel, a business-to-business travel technology solutions company; and Sign Up, Get a Job Ja, an employment platform.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com