Local call centre and technology firms on September 20 formed the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) aimed at lobbying the interests of the US$200-million (J$18b) industry.
Areas of immediate focus will include access to ready built space, cybercrime legislation, development of a training curriculum recognised by the global industry, the establishment of a business incubator for start-ups and staff transportation, according to Jampro, the primary facilitator for ICT investments in Jamaica.
The executive of the association comprises Yoni Epstein, chairman; Mark Kerr-Jarrett, treasurer; Karl Graham, secretary; Jacqueline Sutherland, director; and John Spencer.
According to Epstein, the formation of the BPIAJ is in keeping with the international practice in countries that enjoy sustained success in the business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology sector. He noted that the association would lobby the Government for the "right" policies and tools that will ensure the growth of the sector.
"We have 26 BPO/ICT companies in Jamaica and many of them are small. We want to make it our duty to help those small players grow their businesses as well. There is also a need for unity within our sector, and through this association, we will achieve that," stated Epstein during the launch at Jampro head office in St Andrew.
The local BPO industry which, currently employs some 11,500 workers, was identified by the Government as a priority sector in its development plan for the country under Vision 2030.
Epstein expects to strengthen the relationship with Jampro and the Government.
For 2011-12 financial year, Jampro-facilitated investments created some 4,729 jobs, with 51 per cent of this total being attributable to the ICT sector.
The previous year, the investments totalled J$3.2 billion, and created 2,583 jobs.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton at last Thursday's launch held at Jampro's offices, described the BPIAJ's formation as an important step towards growing the industry and realising Vision 2030 Plan.
"By organising yourselves, you have not only enhanced Jamaica's reputation in the world, you are bringing even greater definition and structural integrity to ensure that we build a BPO industry that will be a global benchmark," said Hylton.
"The formation of the BPIAJ is a tangible demonstration of our resolve to transform our economy through worthwhile ICT investments. I am very confident that the BPIAJ will bring the requisite thought leadership and collaboration to ensure that we build an industry that we will be proud of, and that will marvel the world."
Worldwide BPO spending is expected to grow at an annual rate of nine per cent set to reach US$1 trillion by 2014, according to the International Data Corporation.