Fri | Jan 20, 2017

ItelBPO to double operation, workforce by year end

Published:Wednesday | January 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
Yoni Epstein, CEO of ItelPO Solutions.

Yoni Epstein's home-grown business process outsourcing company, ItelBPO Smart Solutions, is looking to

double its staff in 12 months.

This will take its total number employed to 1,500. The commitment comes as the firm officially opened its fourth site in Jamaica recently.

ItelBPO Smart Solutions added a new centre in Montego Bay, where it now operates two facilities. The others are in Kingston and The Bahamas. The company's four facilities together span 50,000 square feet of working space, but Epstein says he will be expanding the existing facilities in Jamaica during 2017.

The Bahamas operation itself accounts for 120 employees and 10,000 square feet of operating space.

He plans to add another 40,000 square feet overall, which would push ItelBPO's operating portfolio to 90,000 square feet.

"We will expand our footprint by an additional 40,000 square feet and some of this will be in Kingston and Montego Bay," said Epstein, ItelBPO's chairman and CEO.

Under this plan, Epstein aims to reclassify ItelBPO from a medium-sized to large BPO provider by the end of 2017.

"We have grown the business pretty aggressively over the past four years, having way above-average growth year-over-year. This expansion will secure a dynamic future for our employees seeking to advance their careers in our company; bolster the commitment of our company in delivering quality services and provide a boost to the local economy by providing job opportunities for our Jamaicans," he said in a statement announcing the expansion.

The fourth centre, a 10,000-square foot site located in the Montego Bay Free Zone, was completed last November. The new centre has since acquired its first client, a medical billing support services firm. It's the third client signed by ItelBPO from the health sector alone.

ItelBPO says it services clients in five sectors, and that while the health sector client list is growing, the others offer more business.

"Our largest concentration is actually in travel and tourism, but we operate within five different verticals, which include medical processing, utilities, automobile and consumer retail," Epstein said.

ItelBPO currently employs 780, but says its workforce would grow to 900 by the end of February, with the addition of new clientS and facility.

ItelBPO Smart Solutions describes itself as the largest home grown BPO firm, in a market that includes both Jamaican and foreign operators. Its services include inbound and outbound customer engagement, sales, online booking services and quality assurance services. The company operates on shifts round the clock for 365 days per year.

Epstein would not disclose the investment involved in the expansion programme, but based on rough estimates used by Jampro, the state investment agency, which targets BPO investors, it takes around US$15,000 per seat to set up a BPO centre. The 720 seats being added by ItelBPO would, therefore, represent investment of more than US$10 million.

ItelBPO Smart Solutions is further weighing plans to explore Spanish-speaking markets for future growth and is looking to expand its footprint beyond the Caribbean into Latin America.

"We have always thought that Central America is an option to grow our capacity to offer bilingual services," Epstein said.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com