The efforts of most organizations in the business world center on improving efficiencies to increase competitivity and productivity in a highly competitive market. But some, like non-profit groups, aim beyond achieving immediate benefits for a single organization, and instead help benefit a section of society.
With the Nearshore still adapting to the significant changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of the technological skills gap and geopolitical shifts happening across parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, regional public-private partnerships have implemented social initiatives to drive employment opportunities and upskill regional talent. While essential for the industry, the role of non-profits is often unseen.
Here’s our closer look at a variety of non-profit initiatives across the Nearshore. Some are government programs while others have emerged from the private sector and civil society. We evaluated criteria including:
Training capacity: The impact of integrating new technology, skills and business practices to the workforce.
Impact on underrepresented communities: The ability to reach groups historically discriminated against, such as indigenous population, women and people of color.
Location: Presence within the fastest growing markets in the Nearshore.
Nearshore America’s Top 12 Non-Profits in the Nearshore
Amber/HEART Coding Academy
Launched in January 2021, this is Jamaica’s first ever coding academy. A partnership between the Amber Group, the HEART/NSTA Trust, the Housing Opportunity Production and Employment (HOPE) Program and the Art of Living Foundation. The government of Jamaica has a five-year goal of training 20,000 Jamaicans in software development.
Jamaica has been taking bold steps toward building vibrant technological hubs in the island, attracting attention as an emerging software development outsourcing location.
According to Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, “the Amber HEART/NSTA Trust Coding Academy is a groundbreaking first step towards achieving our vision of positioning Jamaica as a technology and innovation hub.”
Eon Reality-University of the West Indies Virtual Reality Lab
Another Caribbean-based initiative, the Eon Reality and University of the West Indies Virtual Reality Lab in Trinidad and Tobago is set to reach around 5,000 people with training in areas such as engineering, tourism and various global services.
“This program has produced a lot of excitement. Now we are looking how to transform that into actual value for industry. We’ve met with organizations like the Jamaican Promotion Agency. We want to demonstrate what this can do to elevate skills and integrate new practices into the workforce,” Dr. Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus told Nearshore Americas.
Go Cali Bilingual City
Colombia is one of the fastest BPO markets in Latin America. The South American nation is becoming more attractive as US companies walk away from offshoring practices and divest from some Asian markets. Government incentives as well as scalability make Colombia a robust location. Many programs and organizations work to include more people to the workforce and facilitate training and upskilling.
The city of Cali in particular is emerging as one of the most strategic locations in Latin America for investment in global services, particularly BPO and IT & Software. A main shortcoming of the city and the Colombia’s BPO industry is the lack of bilingualism. Go Cali Bilingual City aims to strengthen foreign language skills in the official educational sector of Cali.
The initiative is the result of a public-private alliance between different public and private universities, the Chamber of Commerce of Cali, English teaching institutions and the Mayor’s Office.
Founded in 2014, Laboratoria has now graduated over 2,000 women as front-end developers and UX designers, who have gone on to work in over 800 companies across the region. It’s global partners include IDB, Google and USAid.
The model is entirely sustainable: women pay nothing to take the bootcamp that has an 83% employment rate. Once a graduate finds a job, they return the cost of the course in monthly installments so that Laboratoria can help another young woman graduate.
Fundación Educamás works to elevate the retention and graduation rates of students in Colombia. It also partners with organizations in the private sector to deliver the training and skills necessary for the new conditions of work.
“We have agreements with 18 educational institutions and a network of 30 associated businesses. We’re trying to quickly generate the right educational tools, employability and development for social mobility,” María Alejandra Baene, Educamás’ executive director said.
Fundación Suarez Andrade Madre Teresa de Calcuta (Montería Te Llama)
The Foundation hosts “Monteria Te Llama,” an employment generator program connected to the BPO industry. This project emerged from a soup kitchen for vulnerable people in the city of Monteria in Colombia.
The goal is to provide young people with training and employment in call centers.
“The results are clear. Konecta and its client Bancolombia decided to bet on this and today we have 650 young people with jobs and new prospects in life,” Maria Milene Andrade Garcia, Social Worker and Coordinator at the initiative, told Nearshore Americas recently.
Cincinnatus Institute of Craftsmanship
Located in the DominicanRepublic, Cincinnatus Institute of Craftsmanship (CIC)is the brainchild of the husband and wife team behind Intellisys D. Corp, which provides self-managed and embedded tech talent to global corporations.
The Institute trains young people in the DR that have shown promise in tech but may lack the resources to properly pursue a career in the field. A lack of electricity or insufficient formal schooling are two of many reasons as to why talented youngsters can’t fulfil their promise, Christian Corcino told Nearshore Americas recently.
CIC uses a blended and experiential learning to shape youngsters for a professional career, and offers extended help to ensure each young person has a full formal high school history so that there are no stumbling blocks in their path.
Impact Sourcing Initiative to Advance the Integration of Venezuelan Refugees in Colombia
This impact sourcing initiative by Tent Partnership for Refugees, IAOP, the global business process outsourcing (BPO) association, and BPrO, the Colombian BPO association, offering Venezuelan migrants jobs in the Colombian BPO industry comes as a response to the influx of Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.
An estimated 5.4 million Venezuelans have left their home country since a political and economic crisis became acute. Colombia which has become the fourth largest BPO jurisdiction in Latin America, with a market size of approximately US$23 billion.
“The BPO sector is one of Colombia’s leading industries and is growing at a fast rate; we felt there was a huge opportunity for BPO firms to show their support for Venezuelan refugees and double down on their efforts to integrate them,” said Yaron Schwartz, BPO Initiative lead on the Tent Partnership for Refugees.
Vai na Web
Vai na Web is a self-described digital talent training platform in Brazil. Founded in 2017, the initiative has been training young people from all over Brazil in advanced digital programming. Their objective is to reduce inequality, generate decent jobs and reduce the gender gap in the country.
“We educate vulnerable young people with the skills and competencies needed to solve the challenges of the digital economy and to achieve fulfilling and rewarding careers. We are preparing the next generation of workers fueled by diversity and inclusion. Vai na Web is a smart solution for companies that need to accelerate their web and mobile deliveries while contributing to socially responsible approaches,” Vai na Web Co-founder and Executive Director Aline Fróes told Nearshore Americas.
Fundación Pro Educación & Empleo
Guatemala is another country emerging as an attractive BPO location. The country has companies oﬀering a wide range of services that go from customer service and telemarketing to more specific outsourcing services such as collections, subscriptions, help desk, database maintenance, data feeding, and outsourcing of financial and administrative services.
In this context, the Fundación Pro Educación & Empleo is dedicated to talent development and training. The inclusion of women in the labor force is also an important component of its work.
“Our Foundation is committed to strengthening the educational level in the country to reach the standards and requirements of employers. At the same time, over the last three years we’ve held the largest job fairs in Guatemala, with around 550 companies from all economic sectors involved,” Director Alejandro Quijada told Nearshore Americas.
According to their mission statement, the non-profit “aims to make the business landscape in Latin America more competitive and inclusive by accelerating the careers of high-achieving Afro-descendant and Indigenous (ADI) women and men from underrepresented communities.”
TalentoTotal assists talented individuals to increase their leadership skills and go through another round of schooling, particularly MBAs and law degrees.
TalentoTotal has offices in several markets in Latin America, including Colombia and Brazil, as well as two locations in the US.
The Avasant Foundation is an international leader in impact sourcing. The organization has created thousands of jobs globally particularly benefiting disadvantaged youth.
The Avasant Foundation has implemented partnerships with the Inter-American Development Bank and various governments in the region, particularly providing training in STEM and ICT. The Foundation has advised several countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Dominican Republic on attracting global BPO companies.