Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton shakes hands with Yoni Epstein, chairman of the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) on Thursday, September 20 at the launch of the BPIAJ at the offices of JAMPRO.
Players in the burgeoning domestic Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/ICT sector, which is currently valued at well over US$200 million (J$18 billion), have banded together to form the Business Processing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) with the support of JAMPRO – the national investment and export promotion agency.
The launch, which took place on September 20 at the JAMPRO Business Auditorium in New Kingston, brought together representatives from BPO/ICT companies based in Montego Bay, Kingston and St. Catherine. The executive of the association is comprised of Yoni Epstein, chairman; Mark Kerr Jarrett, treasurer; Karl Graham, secretary; Jacqueline Sutherland, director; and John Spencer, who is also a director.
According to Epstein, the formation the BPIAJ is in keeping with the international practice in countries that enjoy sustained success in the BPO/ICT sector. He noted that the inception of the BPIAJ at this time was critical, and represents a private sector-led charge to lobby the government for the right policies and tools that will ensure the growth of the sector.
Yoni Epstein, Chairman of the BPIAJ
“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.
He indicated that areas of immediate focus of the newly formed association would include access to ready built space, cyber-crime legislation, development of a training curriculum recognised by the global industry, the establishment of a business incubator to allow start-ups to test the waters and public transportation issues related to the movement of staff. Epstein added that he was looking forward to strengthening the existing working relationship with JAMPRO, which has provided invaluable support to the industry, as well as the relevant ministries and state agencies.
(L-R) Claude Duncan, JAMPRO’s Vice President of Investment Promotions; Julian Robinson, State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; Reginald Budhan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Vivion Scully, Manager of Knowledge Services at JAMPRO; Karl Graham, Secretary of the Business Processing Industry Association (BPIAJ); Patrick Casserly, Ambassador/special envoy with responsibility for ICT; , Paula Kerr-Jarrett; Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Yoni Epstein, Chairman of the BPIAJ; Sancia Bennett Templer, JAMPRO President; and Mark Kerr Jarrett, Treasurer of the BPIAJ, at the launch of the BPIAJ at the offices of JAMPRO on Thursday, September 20, 2012.
In 2010/2011, ICT/BPO investments facilitated by JAMPRO totalled J$3.2 billion, and created 2,583 jobs. For 2011/2012 financial year, JAMPRO-facilitated investments created some 4,729 jobs, with 51% of this total being attributable to the ICT sector. The Jamaica Coalition of Service Industries (JCSI), which is housed within JAMPRO, provided assistance with the legal registration of the BPIAJ through the instrumentality of its newly developed Association Formation Guide.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, in his address to the gathering at the launch, welcomed the formation of the BPIAJ, describing it as an important step towards realising the Vision 2030 Plan to use ICT to “enhance national productivity, efficiency and wealth”.
The Hon. Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, addressing the gathering at the launch of the BPIAJ at JAMPRO on September 20.
“By organizing 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,” stated Minister Hylton.
He added, “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.”
The local BPO industry, which currently employs some 11,500 workers, has been identified by the government as a priority sector in its development plan for the country. Global industry watchers have noted that Jamaica is well positioned to address the growing needs of the near-shore market business. Worldwide BPO spending has been increasing, and according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the global BPO market will grow at an annual rate of 9% and reach about US$1 trillion by 2014.