Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Jamaica gets historic 200-seat incubator

Published:Wednesday | October 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

JAMAICA'S ATTRACTIVENESS as an ideal destination for investors in the business process outsourcing/information and communications technology (BPO/ICT) market received a significant boost last week, following the official signing of an agreement between Columbus Business Solution (CBS) and Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) for the construction of a 200-seat incubator at the Montego Bay Free Zone.

"The reality is that an incubator is an asset for the country. It enhances our competitiveness, and to the extent that we are more competitive, we will attract more local and foreign businesses," said Julian Robinson, the minister of state in the ministry of science, technology, energy and mining, while delivering the keynote address.

Jamaica currently holds six per cent of the Caribbean and Latin America market share, with approximately 15,000 jobs, and currently earns about US$375 million in foreign exchange revenues. However, stakeholders are of the view that the sector has the potential to grow by over 20 per cent.

Attracting large players

In his address, Yoni Epstein, president of the BPIAJ, said the sector now needs to attract more large players to develop greater credibility

"I truly believe in order for this sector to continue to grow, we need more local players on the ground operating ... we also need more large players because that builds more credence of our human capital, our technology abilities and our country as a destination for BPO services," said Epstein. "... so, having an incubator and partnering with CBS give the abilities for entrepreneurs to join the industry in more cost-effective ways ... get the technology that they may not have the capital to get in order to grow their business".

The initiative was made possible through grant funding from Compete Caribbean via the Inter-American Development Bank.

The facility, the first of its kind in the region and will be fully operational by year end, is being constructed at a cost of J$13.5 million and will facilitate four start-up BPO operations for a period of one year.