News

J'can returns to hometown after living in US, opens BPO company

...Plans to employ 500 people when fully operational

BY EVERARD OWEN
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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A native of Annotto Bay, St Mary, Roger Williamson, after migrating to the United States, has returned to Jamaica with his family to open a business process outsourcing (BPO) company in his hometown.

The company, NK Customer Solutions, which was officially opened last week Thursday, currently employs 25 people, but Williamson has his sights set on providing jobs for close to 500 people when it is fully operational.

“I had this vision three years ago, and I sought guidance, as it is very challenging,” Williamson said. “This island has made me; this country has made me. It has moulded me to be who I am today.”

The company's principal partner went on to explain that the project has been a “labour of love”.

“I found two persons who have bought into this vision, and by coming here and seeing the transformation in this building, and shaping it into what it is today, I am grateful. Our common slogan is 'To reach, feel and inspire' — to reach the people of this community in Annotto Bay and surrounding areas, to reach [them] in a way that they can understand that greatness is possible, and...[it] is possible to inspire and to give back in a positive way.

“...[It] is greater than a centre, greater than a business, we are trying with the will to change this community,” he continued. “This centre will be the beacon for the community, and when it is done, everybody will speak about it.”

Williamson said the company will make a difference in the community and impact people's lives.

“A lot of good can come out of this community and the average folk that we hire today is between 18 to 25 years, and we want to inspire them. My vision is to bring them into the big picture,” he said.

The Annotto Bay native said besides employment opportunities, his team will have other benefits as well.

“This is not a fibre-run business; we are here to make a difference — we are investing in this community, we are investing in these people. We will improve the way of living through training, development of skills, providing the things that a lot of employees and individuals lack in other areas; they will benefit through development, management skills and financial services,” Williamson explained.

He said building the next generation is extremely important and will take a lot of work.

“The biggest thing is to encourage others and for them to see what we are doing here, and to understand not to be scared of the individuals but to bring core values to them, as I want to make Annotto Bay a nicer bay,” he declared.

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) National Outsourcing Coordinator Roger Williams hailed Williamson for his effort.

“This is fantastic, as when somebody from Annotto Bay went to the United States, developed his career and decide not just to come back to Jamaica, but to Annotto Bay, that is a great story that we can't find words to describe.

The national coordinator explained that JAMPRO got involved with NK Customer Solutions in March.

“To have this up and running now is fantastic going. This project in Annotto Bay represents a breakthrough, as the economic activity is not only confined to Kingston alone, as this investment is going to be the anchor and the catalyst of massive transformation of Annotto Bay,” he said, adding that 38,000 people, up to the end of June this year, are employed in the BPO sector, with 60 companies in Jamaica.

“We want the industry to grow; we will do what is needed for it to continue. We expect it to continue...but we want the growth to be in higher value sources... We need the skills and we need the education to enhance the industry,” he continued. “We have very high expectations.”

Custos Rotulorum for the parish of St Mary Lt Col Errol Johnson, who read Governor General Sir Patrick Allen's message, said: “For the past couple of years, business process outsourcing has become institutionalised in [the] Jamaican business landscape, and we welcome this news as NK Solutions will make a positive contribution in reducing unemployment in St Mary, as the current staff is now 25 persons and the focus is to have over 500 in the next three years.

“This is indeed good news and augurs well for our economy. I hope you will have many years of success and growth in the development of our nation,” he said.

Opposition spokesperson on science and technology Julian Robinson also expressed high hopes for the company.

“I am very impressed with what I see here. One who is from this town went away and came back to make significant investments in his hometown. He has invested a lot with his expertise and his partners here, and I think it is going to be significant for this economy, and it has the capacity to grow,” Robinson said.


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