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Barbados: A Compelling Choice For Business Process Outsourcing
By Leslie T. Gittens
There is extensive international awareness of Barbados as a respected financial services domicile and rightly so, with a highly educated workforce, its sound record of economic and political stability, business friendly and right sized regulatory environment, Barbados has been attracting investors seeking an international financial services centre of excellence for many years. The bigger picture however, is that Barbados is a mature and well regulated international business jurisdiction that offers unique opportunities in various sectors. Perhaps less known examples of these opportunities exist in the areas of manufacturing and enterprises involved in information and communication technology (ICT) and other business process outsourcing (BPO) activities.
Barbados is a near shore cost effective location for information processing operations (particularly for North American businesses), offering a modern reliable telecommunications infrastructure, competitive labor costs and high levels of worker productivity. Consequently, operations such as contact centers, technical support, software development, transaction processing, medical claims processing, medical transcription, health information management, web application development and database management have all emerged as growth areas in the island’s ICT industry. There are several incentives provided by the Government of Barbados to encourage investment in this sector. These include, provision of office accommodation in fully serviced business parks at attractive rental rates, competitive corporate tax rates for international business entities, training grants, as well as duty free entry of equipment and materials used in the operation.
One example of a successful ICT operation locating in Barbados is that of leading US-based near shore contact center company, KM2 Solutions. This company established a presence in Barbados in 2007 providing a range of contact center and customer support services including collections, customer care, back office operations, technical support, vehicle re-acquisition logistics, catalogue sales and servicing, and retail sales and servicing, among others, to a selection of their Fortune 500 clients.
KM2 Solutions has been repeatedly recognized as an industry leader for excellence in service and values, with a 2012 Caribbean Business Award for Best Caribbean Call Centre. Also, in 2015, in acknowledgement of the company’s unique positioning and commitment to excellence, Frost & Sullivan awarded KM2 Solutions with the Central American and Caribbean Contact Centre Outsourcing Customer Value Leadership Award.
The operation has recently expanded to beyond 900 employees. Management of KM2 Solutions have stated that they were initially attracted to Barbados by the urban environment, financial stability, tax advantages to corporations, telecommunications infrastructure and, the innate customer service skills offered by the labor pool available on the island. Several others have taken advantage of the opportunities Barbados offers as a near shore solution for various types of BPO. Of late there has been growing interest in the country as a suitable location for some aspects of software development and testing, as well as animation, particularly as Barbados provides the business environment and the necessary graduate pool to support these types of investments.
Apart from its suitability as a cost efficient location for high value-added services, it is the sophisticated business climate, friendliness of the people and excellent quality of life which together make Barbados a compelling choice for BPO. Essentially what you have in Barbados, therefore, are world class human resources providing world class business solutions, in a tax friendly environment and one of the best places to live in the world!