Story Highlights Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says outsourcing services remain a key pillar of the country’s economic growth and job creation strategy, and the Government has been proactive in promoting, engaging and securing investments in the sector.The Minister, who was speaking to JIS News in a recent interview, noted that business processing outsourcing (BPO) has contributed to the reduction in unemployment to 10.4 per cent as at October 2017, which is the lowest since October 2008.“The unemployment rate was 2.4 percentage points lower than in October 2016, and a 0.9 percentage point lower than in July 2017,” he noted.He said that a strategy has been adopted with the goal of nearly doubling the employee count within the BPO sector by 2020.“But, we have gone even further by forming the BPO task force, which oversees the implementation and update of the development work plan for the industry,” he noted.“In addition, we have secured a National Coordinator for Outsourcing (NCO) to ensure that all elements of the ecosystem are in place, to ensure the success of the industry,” he pointed out.The focus is on strengthening the enabling environment, particularly the policy and incentive framework; labour market enhancement; infrastructure development and market penetration.Mr. Vaz said that these initiatives have paid off, “as the sector continues to enjoy a high employment growth rate surpassing many of our other sectors”.He informed that there are approximately 60 BPO companies in Jamaica offering a wide range of services, including customer care, technical support, among others, and accounting for over 26,000 jobs.“I am happy with the performance of the sector, but we want to ensure that even more Jamaicans are empowered through jobs. To this end, we have mandated the relevant government agencies to create the environment for the expansion of the industry,” he pointed out.He indicated that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has committed US$73 million to finance 15 BPO projects islandwide. Last year, work commenced on development of new spaces in Montego Bay and Portmore to create over 6,000 new job opportunities.In addition, the Factories Corporation of Jamaica has undertaken to design and construct BPO space on 34 acres, with a target of approximately 20,000 jobs.“The job creation potential of the BPO sector is encouraging, to say the least, and augurs well for our (economic) agenda,” Minister Vaz said, assuring that challenges, including the length of time for approvals, are being addressed. He said that a strategy has been adopted with the goal of nearly doubling the employee count within the BPO sector by 2020. The Minister, who was speaking to JIS News in a recent interview, noted that business processing outsourcing (BPO) has contributed to the reduction in unemployment to 10.4 per cent as at October 2017, which is the lowest since October 2008. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says outsourcing services remain a key pillar of the country’s economic growth and job creation strategy, and the Government has been proactive in promoting, engaging and securing investments in the sector.
Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. March 22, 2017 This is a guest post by Evan Luthra, serial entrepreneur, angel investor and speaker at conferences and universities around the world. Connect with him on Instagram and Snapchat.I started building mobile apps early in the game. They weren’t the best because I and a few others were charting new territory. But people used them because the market lacked alternatives—which may explain why I had multiple top-ranking apps.Today, we live in a dramatically different world. More than 3 million apps are available, covering categories from utility to entertainment and beyond. It’s become a highly competitive field, so it begs the question: how can your app stand apart and become something people will not only use but also rely on?Here are 10 steps to consider when building an app that everyone will love.1. Perfect the design early on.With my current apps, I invest heavily in design. It sounds counterintuitive, but a big part of this process is hiring multiple people to perform the same job—10 designers for every app. The trick is that no one is aware of the nine other people working on the same project. This strategy aggregates the best elements of each designer’s work, which is blended until we’ve reached a final design that’s greater than the sum of its parts, saving time and money down the road.2. Build what 100 people will love, not what 1,000 people will like.Most people only use two to three apps regularly yet install multiple apps they rarely use, if ever. To be one of the chosen few, create a quality product that people rely on—you’ll have a highly engaged audience that actively gives feedback and shares your product with their friends and associates.3. Apps are more than just a piece of code.The majority of today’s most successful apps have one thing in common: a business model. It’s one thing to build an app; it’s another to successfully execute and build a business around your app. Building a successful app is just like building a successful business. Ask yourself: “How can we make money with this? What sort of infrastructure will it need? What are the logistics? What are the initial costs and projected returns?” The most successful apps have a solid business model containing customer service, marketing and monetization schemes.4. Focus on solving one problem first.Don’t start building a grandiose product right out of the gate. It’s great to have a big vision, but success is achieved by taking a lot of calculated small steps—not one giant leap. It’s important to build and launch the most basic version of your app, get feedback from users and expand the feature set from there.5. Find great partners and advisers.Leverage the advice and insights of experienced advisers. One of my biggest successes was getting the ICC Cricket World Cup Fan app ranked No. 1 on the App Store in the U.K., India, Bangladesh and Australia. I achieved this by knowing from one of my mentors that the App Store shut down for the Christmas holidays when the tournament started. ICC, despite being a multi-billion-dollar corporation, didn’t consider such a small detail.6. Learn more than you think you can.It’s essential to learn as much as possible about the industry or field your app is going to represent. Knowledge is widely available. You’ll need to wear many hats: chief executive officer, chief marketing officer, designer, social media expert, intern and more. The goal is to have an answer for every question and a working knowledge of your product that’s second to none.7. Follow the one-step principle.Tell yourself and your team that you need to worry only about one step at a time. Early on, it may seem that what you’re setting out to do is almost impossible. Start parceling tasks one by one to get you and the team focused on the goal and task execution. It builds confidence and keeps your tank running full.8. Have a secret.In the book “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future,” PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel asks: “What valuable company is nobody building?” You need to identify a big problem (or better yet, an opportunity) and devise a clever way to solve it to turn your company into a groundbreaking success. If you plan to enter the market to compete on price or produce something a little better than the competition, you’re not building a game-changing company; you’re wasting your time. Ask yourself Thiel’s question repeatedly. Ensure you can nail the answer before you write a single line of code.9. Find the right co-founder.Don’t worry if you’re not a super techie—we can’t all be Elon Musk. But if you’re not in a position to deliver the technology to support your vision yourself, you’ll need a technical co-founder. Take your time on this one; you’re going to want to find someone who is like-minded, easy to get along with, as personally vested in the idea as you and willing to burn the midnight oil alongside you. Finding this individual might take time, but when you do find that superstar co-founder, you’ll accelerate like crazy. That’s why I created Startup Studio, an incubator to help non-tech entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.10. Be agile.Tech moves really fast. You’ll need to respond to trends, user feedback, and analytics quickly enough to keep your users active and beat the competition. That means powering your company with an “Agile” development methodology. It works wonders. I’m always amazed at what a small Agile team can achieve in two weeks when collaborating on a clear goal with a little pressure. If you’re not familiar with Agile, get familiar before you start. Here’s the best blog I’ve ever read on Agile development.Gone are the days when a cool app could be unleashed into the world and become a roaring success with a little planning and blind luck — though it’s still possible! More often, culture-defining apps have been methodically considered from every angle by professionals who know how to navigate the ever-evolving industry. Not to say that luck isn’t a factor, but it can’t beat knowledge, insight, some good advice, and a mean line of code.