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|Call centres burgeoning.|
|Monday, 02 July 2012 22:10|
THE GUYANA Office for Investment (GOINVEST) has reported a steady increase in growth in the Information Technology (IT) enabled industries, mainly in the emergence of new call centres and business processes outsourcing operations.
They said that the prognosis for continued growth in these areas from both domestic and foreign investments are “extremely good.”
Export Promotion Officer Ms. Uchenna Gibson, said that GOINVEST has this year to date approved two new call centres and were currently in the process of facilitating the opening of a third one.
The centres, some also referred to as BPO companies, perform such services as outbound sales / telemarketing; inbound customer support; voicemail transcription; medical records transcription; and data warehousing for clients in the United Kingdom , the United States , Canada and Mexico.
A BPO is responsible for performing a process or a part of a process of another business organisation; outsourcing is done to save on costs or to gain in productivity.
A call centre performs that part of a client's business which involves handling telephone calls.
The Guyana IT-enabled call centre services sector currently employs 3,000) persons, mostly young women between the ages of 17 and 25.
Based on plans by some of the centres, Ms. Gibson said, it is envisaged that this sector will grow to approximately 8,800 persons by 2013.
She observed that Guyana possesses a number of advantages that make it an ideal location for IT-enabled services:
“A major plus in Guyana is our language – the only English-speaking country in South America which gives us an advantage in attracting call centres .”
As an English-speaking country, she said, there are few language barriers for providing voice or data services to customers in the U.S. and Canadian markets. This has helped draw the attention of BPO companies based in Latin America.
Other advantages include the Guyanese accent – recent investors have noted that Guyanese workers have an accent more compatible with the U.S. market than those in other Caribbean islands.
Then there is the time zone advantage: Guyana is in the same time zone as the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, allowing firms to work with customers in those countries on a real-time basis.
“ There is our highly skilled and trainable people – Guyana’s workforce is literate and trainable. To date, call centre investors have noted their ability to attract higher skilled workers, making it possible to reach higher productivity levels.
“There is also our affordable labour – we have one of the most competitive wage rates in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she asserted..
Ms. Gibson noted that the government is eager to attract further investment in this area.
“Not only is the government providing attractive incentives for investors (e.g. tax holidays), it is also taking steps to improve the regulatory framework for sectors utilising IT for services targeting domestic and international markets through the development of policy strategies for IT and E-commerce.”
GOINVEST recently signed an agreement with the Centre for Developing Enterprises (CDE) for a grant to assist the call centres in Guyana.
The grant allows three consultants to work with the centres to enhance their capacity individually and collectively as a sector.
One foreign consultant outlined a marketing strategy for the sector, a local consultant implemented the strategy, and an IT consultant upgraded their individual websites and developed a call centre association website.
She added that the only negative for Guyana in the call centre services is the high cost for bandwidth from Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T).
“However, due to the incentives and the wage rate and tax holiday, “ she said, “it balances off.”
Presently there are 10 BPOs dotting the business landscape in Guyana. They are as follows:
Nand Persaud International Communications, Inc. in Tain, Corentyne, Berbice: Does work for a publishing company in London.
Qualfon Guyana based at Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara. From Mexico: Works for a telephone company in the USA + World of Flowers, and is courting new clients presently. Plans are underway to construct a Call Centre Campus at Providence.
Clear Connect Call Centre: Re-migrant, works for Office Depot; plans are underway to construct their own building at Providence.
Diamond Call Centre: Located at Diamond, and is also owned by Nand Persaud International Communications, Inc.
Travel Span Call Centre: Small operation, does back-office work for Travel Span.
Market One International: Small operation on High Street, Kingston, high-end (insurance, credit cards, etc.).
Call Centre Solutions: Is still looking for a client.
Toucan Call Centre: Owned by an American businessman from St. Kitts; owns a Call Centre in St. Kitts ; needed to grow and chose Guyana; does work for a publishing company in London.
Sambora Communications, Incorporated: Investors and clients from London. Growing steadily.
Essequibo Call Centre: Started a small operation last year; 20 seats. Is presently looking for a client.
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