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itelBPO expanding to St Lucia

Published:Friday | December 6, 2019 | 12:34 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter
Yoni Epstein, CEO of itelBPO.
Yoni Epstein, CEO of itelBPO.

Weeks after the take up of a 30 per cent stake in the business by PanJam Investment Limited and Portland Private Equity, itelBPO has broken ground in St Lucia for the development of a 20,000 square foot centre.

Development of the two-storey building in Saint Lucia is being done in partnership with government investment agency Invest Saint Lucia and is located in the Hewanorra Free Zone, Vieux-Fort.

The centre is expected to open on April 1, 2020.

“St Lucia next to Jamaica is the largest English-speaking country in the region and they have experience in the industry as well. I have experience with St Lucia from my prior career with Sandals so I know that the work ethic, the education and the ability of the St Lucian people are very similar to what we see here in Jamaica," the founding chairman and CEO of itelBPO, Yoni Epstein told the Financial Gleaner.

"And as we continue to monitor our risk profile, as an organisation we felt like it was the next best stop for our company,” he said. The value of the investment was not disclosed.

St Lucia marks the fifth location for itelBPO which currently claims the number one spot for home-grown outsourcer in the region. The company has operations in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico and the United States.

Epstein will commence the St Lucian operation with a team of 300, providing front office call centre service in the utilities and tourism sectors.

“Some of the team from head office will be heading down to ensure that we indoctrinate our culture in the St Lucian team; ensuring that we do recruiting the way we do, ensure that we do training the way the group does it,” the CEO said.

The new facility will grow itelBPO's workforce beyond 3,000 and closer to its target of 5,000 new seats over the next five years.

itelBPO’s expansion to Vieux-Fort, St Lucia, according to a web search, will mark the first business process outsourcing operation for the southern part of the island. A search of St Lucia BPO services highlighted operators K2M Solutions, Velox Performance Incorporated, Ark Teleservices, 1888GoAnswer – all of which are located at the northern end.

“This operation is going to diversify our offerings and our ability to provide services to our clients in a jurisdiction that we feel will be less competitive than some of the other ones that we operate in,” Epstein said.

itelBPO is entering St Lucia as the government prepares to redevelop the southern town, which includes a new master plan for the Anse de Sable area in Vieux-Fort.

Invest Saint Lucia, which owns a large portion of land in Vieux-Fort, last year announced plans to develop a mixed-use development for Anse de Sable following on plans to redesign the Hewanorra International Airport and plans for a new cruise port to accommodate the cruise industry’s largest, and newest ships.