itelbpo officially launched operations in Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia with an opening ceremony on July 15, 2020 in Vieux Fort. This was also a commemorative event for Invest Saint Lucia (ISL), who, as the island’s investment promotion agency, has worked tirelessly to bring this project into fruition.
itelbpo’s first recruits commenced training in the new facility on June 30th and the company will be hiring a total of 150 new team members by the end of the summer. Originally, the aim was to bring 200 jobs to Saint Lucia within one year. Over the course of the past few months, this has changed to 750 jobs by the first quarter of 2021. ISL’s facilitation of this project included round the clock retrofitting work to be able to have a building that itelbpo could begin using from June 30th.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony along with itelbpo’s Founding Chairman and CEO, Yoni Epstein, who flew in to mark the occasion. Invest Saint Lucia CEO Roderick Cherry and Minister Bradly Felix were also speakers at the ceremony.
Cherry painted a clear picture of ISL’s role in bringing business process outsourcing (BPO) opportunities to our shores: “Saint Lucia has the advantage of being the only island in the Eastern Caribbean with an invest promotion agency that is capable of assisting investors by providing locations and facilities for them to house their operations. We support them further by assisting with the retrofitting of facilities to suit their specifications.
“ISL manages seven industrial estates which house 26 factory shells in industrial parks strategically located throughout the island’s economic hubs…We’re especially eager to partner with companies like itelbpo that have the capacity and experience to tap into Saint Lucia’s talent pool and provide targeted training to enable workers to deliver world-class customer experiences.”
In his remarks, Epstein expressed enthusiasm towards making itelbpo’s Saint Lucian branch a leader in the Caribbean’s BPO industry given the island’s demonstrated ability to provide quality customer service. “What this pandemic has done for us and this region is to show our clients that you cannot always rely on the bigger boys. You have to diversify locations and vendors. Therefore, our existing clients have asked us to put some of their business in Saint Lucia in order to diversify,” stated Epstein.
“We have more clients looking to reap the benefits and opportunities in Saint Lucia, and we’re confident that our Saint Lucian team can achieve this because I’ve seen it done before and I know that we have the support of the government and local private sector, as well. itelbpo is a business of the future and that future is today.”
When Prime Minister Chastanet tabled the Appropriation Bill 2020/21 last month, he identified the business process outsourcing sector as “holding tremendous potential for job creation in Saint Lucia, especially amongst the youth”. While the region continues to grapple with the economic repercussions of the global pandemic, itelbpo’s commitment to staying the course with its expansion into the south of the island comes at a pivotal moment for the economy.
Prime Minister Chastanet welcomed itelbpo as family. He further emphasized that young people getting jobs at itelbpo’s “world-class” facility will be very proud. “Vieux Fort is going to be an engine of economic growth on the island. We want to make Vieux Fort competitive on a global scale. It’s not just about creating jobs. It’s creating world-class jobs. We are going to make the new frontier a reality,” stated Chastanet.
The launch event took place at the new facility in the Hewanorra Freezone and was preceded by a job fair. Throughout the day, itelbpo accepted resumes from enthusiastic applicants who received group tours of the first completed building at the site.
All attendees were required to wear a mask before entering the Freezone premises and strict health and safety measures were followed including sanitizing, social distancing as well as approval and recommendations from the Ministry of Health.
Applicants from around the island showed up to explore job opportunities with the Caribbean-grown global outsourcer.