Guyana a special place for investors – with vast investment potential — says Kirk Laughlin, founder of Nearshore Americas

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Mr Kirk Laughlin, Nearshore Americas Founder and Managing Director

NEARSHORE Americas Founder and Managing Director, Mr Kirk Laughlin, has identified Guyana as a special place for investors, especially those in the Business Outsourcing Industry (BPI).Nearshore Americas produces authoritative and independent news, analyses and research on the fast-emerging Latin America and Caribbean business process, Information Technology (IT), software and call centre industries.

The company, dedicated to expanding knowledge around Americas-centric investment and innovation, is on a mission to illuminate, inspire and motivate business decision-makers to more closely examine services’ investment and partnership opportunities in the Americas.
Describing Guyana’s prospect in BPO as “powerful,” Laughlin said the country is one of 15 contenders well positioned to capitalise on a US$10 Billion market between Information Technology (IT) and business call centres outsourcing in Latin America and the Caribbean.
But he pointed out that while some markets are ambitious and aggressive, virtually all are faced with some challenges, ranging from crime, violence, human capital development, proximity and time zone distance.
And in addition, he said there is no guarantee that ascendancy will continue, disclosing that some markets in the Nearshore arena have fallen out of favour for various reasons, including high costs and loss of edge.
On this point, the entrepreneur emphasised that Guyana is a standout.
“There is something very special here and this is what is really powerful about the prospect of the business outsourcing industry in which people like me, outsiders sometimes observe the specialness, the unique feature(s) that even people in that country don’t fully recognise,” he said.
SOUND INVESTMENT STRATEGY
Speaking at the grand opening yesterday of Qualfon’s new US$12 million contact centre campus at Providence, East Bank Demerara, Laughin commended Guyana’s investment strategy.
“Guyana has made it very clear that this country is willing to work with investors to meet them half-way, to provide value, to expose to these investors what the value is,” he said.
The Nearshore Americas Founder and Managing Director also noted the importance of human capital development for the success of business.
He said in the line of business, and in the case of Qualfon, it cannot be overstated as Qualfon is a company in constant contact with buyers, who ultimately influence it on where to step up operations.
Laughlin said a question he is frequently asked by clients, is not about the weather or who has the best rum, but about the state of human capital.
“Are the people available? Is there enough of them today? Would there be enough of them tomorrow?”
PEOPLE-ORIENTED BUSINESS
The business of Qualfon and Nearshore Americas, he said, is about people, and speaking directly about the new campus, he said the former is not only providing jobs to transform lives, but is also building young people’s competence in IT.
“What is wonderful about Qualfon is that it is enabling an entire generation to become globally fluent in this wonderful country. Those people can take the fluency and do amazing things. They can start their own businesses, rise to senior level positions in Qualfon, putting them in touch with this world that is growing very fast and changing very quickly,” he said.
President Donald Ramotar said human capital investment remains a top priority of his Government, pointing out that year after year, the education sector receives the largest slice of the national budget.
Qualfon’s Providence Campus, Laughlin said, is also an activation of dreams of local young people, as it enables them to realise that they are just as qualified, capable and impactful as any of their peers in the rest of the world.
But Laughlin also spoke cautiously. He said as the market expands, it will call for deeper analysis, saying that the road is long and there are many milestones ahead.
He said Guyana has incredible potential for business, and importantly, it has begun to execute it.
The entrepreneur said investors are coming and seeing the opportunities here, the right infrastructure is being put in place to encourage business and there are ready “associates” [government and other partners] to “enact the dream and make it come alive.”

(By Tajeram Mohabir)