One of the hottest Latin American BPO destinations – Colombia – is about to win a couple more big deals, according to Sara Bojanini, Investment Director at Proexport USA, who sat down recently with Nearshore Americas to talk about the attractions of Colombia and how the country continues to carve out its own identity as a major sourcing destination.
A few weeks ago, we reported that Convergys will be opening a new delivery center in Bogota, and our sources continue to tell us that this project is going through, despite the fact that Convergys has not yet confirmed the project publicly. Another major contact center provider is moving toward establishing a new Colombia facility, according to Bojanini, but she could not yet name the provider.
Additionally, a major corporate customer is also moving along with plans to open a center in the near future, she added. The fact that these firms are investing in Colombia is no surprise to her. “People (call center executives) from the U.S. like to go shopping in LATAM and when they go to the different cities, they are amazed at what Colombia has to offer,” say Bojanini.
Colombians are frequently praised for their neutral Spanish language accent, a talent that has obvious appeal to customers needing Spanish language support to service businesses in the U.S. Also, outgoing Colombia President Alvaro Uribe has been a major champion of stimulating foreign direct investment and much of that work is showing up in the global sourcing industries. “The president is very committed to FDI,” says Bojanini. “He has helped us out a lot by frequently making presentations to key investors on the value of FDI in Colombia.” In the last eight years, FDI has roughly doubled to $10 billion in Colombia.
Bojanini, a Colombia native, works in Proexport’s New York City office, where she helps facilitate relationships and deals between U.S. and Colombia companies. Proexport, by the way, has a simple mission: Increase Colombian non-traditional exports, international tourism and foreign investment to Colombia. The organization is dedicated to driving investment in eight different sectors, including BPO, IT Services, Green Energy, Graphic Design and Manufacturing.
The Caracas Exodus
Colombia seems to have another good thing going for it: Multinational corporations, shaken by the recent economic instability in Venezuela, are finding that Bogota is a better alternative and are setting up regional offices in Bogota and shuttering operations in Caracas, says Bojanini.
This trend is likely to continue as the cost of doing business in Venezuela remains high. Furthermore, if the newly elected Colombian president shows a similar commitment to economic growth, then Colombia’s prospects will continue to look quite bright.