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Belize tops list of BPO destinations

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Fri. June 30, 2023

Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica are among the top 10 country destinations for Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO), while Belize sits at the number one spot, according to Nearshore Value Index (NVI) 2023.

The NVI is the first-ever index produced by Nearshore Americas, which compiled a list of 41 areas favored by BPO companies, including cities, states, and countries, and ranked them according to seven criteria that include cost of labor, population size, proximity to the US, ease of doing business, English proficiency, investment environment, and real estate prices.

Nearshore Americas stated that, “Belize is a relatively new player in the BPO space, but it is slowly building a reputation as one of the Nearshore’s best options for high-quality service at a lower cost.”

“… The country remains more affordable than popular destinations like Colombia and Costa Rica, while offering a workforce of native English speakers, a healthy investment environment, and geographical proximity to the US market,” they added.

Lincoln Blake, Director of the Investment Policy and Compliance Unit within the Ministry of Investment, told local reporters via Zoom what the index means for Belize.

“It means that Belize is competitive in that industry,” he noted. “We have a competitive advantage when it comes to other jurisdictions. One of the main things that some of these enterprises seek is the control affinity to the North American market… So, Belize being a couple of hours away, in flight, from these markets, makes it easier for them to come to this jurisdiction.”

Belize was also graded on how well Belizean call center employees respond to a company’s clients and demonstrate empathy in comparison to employees in the other countries, and the extent to which the employees are able to simulate an American accent.

“Belize is graded. A lot of times, Belize ranks well [in] the grades. Grading involves looking at the persons that are behind the services that are being provided, how the person answers to the client, how [is their] response, and how [they] solve the problems of the client. It’s something that some people have been discussing, how Belize tends to show a little more empathy when it comes to dealing with clients. That might be one of our competitive advantages too, the cultural affinity with the American market. I guess all the years of watching American television [are] finally paying off now, but the accent is easily emulated in the country and that tends to help us,” Blake outlined.

While Belize’s location is a contributing factor to its success in the BPO sector, Blake also noted that Belize’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic boosted its favorability as a BPO destination.

“When we had the pandemic [and] closed down several sectors, what the government did is to allow some of the duty-free items and equipment that some of these had to use those, and send some of their equipment with employees to work from home. So, the BPO industry never did close down during the pandemic, so Belize is looked at as a reliable jurisdiction,” Blake said.

Reportedly, there are 28 BPOs in the country with an estimated 8,000-plus employees.