Our Talented Team Fuels our Nearshore Expansion in Trinidad
In this episode, we feature Sekou Alleyne, President of InvesTT in Trinidad. InvesTT is a government-run investment promotion agency. iQor has worked with this agency for six years to help set up our nearshore expansion with a sizable workforce in Trinidad, currently numbering more than 1000 people. In this episode, Sekou shares highlights about the republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and how InvesTT has been a valuable partner to iQor in setting up an award-winning customer care facility in Trinidad.
Sekou explains that Trinidad and Tobago are two islands off the coast of Venezuela under one republic. Trinidad is the larger of the two islands and is very industrialized with decades of oil and gas industry presence along with other industries. Trinidad is cosmopolitan with skyscrapers and nightlife. Tobago is a smaller island well known for “sun, sea, and sand.” It’s a popular vacation destination in the Caribbean.
Three Factors that Attracted iQor to Set up a Contact Center in Trinidad
iQor worked with InvesTT to set up our first nearshore contact center facility in Trinidad in 2016. We were attracted to Trinidad for three reasons; 1) InvesTT’s commitment to helping us establish and grow in Trinidad, 2) access to a well-educated local workforce, 3) the island’s location is below the hurricane belt. Demand for nearshore customer experience services drove our search, resulting in the selection of Trinidad.
InvesTT is the investment promotion agency headed up by Sekou as president, reporting to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The agency is responsible for attracting, retaining, and facilitating investments of direct business operations in Trinidad and Tobago. InvesTT has worked closely with iQor since 2016 by providing information that allowed us to conduct our due diligence for initial site selection and set up along with assistance in dealing with other government agencies to become operational. InvesTT has been a strategic partner to iQor since day one, aiding in the development of our nearshore growth strategy on the island.
The local workforce is well educated. The country provides residents free education, including primary, secondary, and tertiary grades. The result is a skilled labor pool with the requisite technical skills needed to support companies like iQor. Residents commonly travel to and from North America, resulting in a population that understands the North American culture, is social media savvy, and is supported by a robust technology infrastructure that enables service delivery such as iQor’s outsourced customer care services.
Trinidad and Tobago’s location is below the hurricane belt, which combined with a strong telecom infrastructure, allows for a high level of uptime and business continuity.
iQor currently operates in two facilities in Trinidad, Wallerfield and Barataria, with 72,000 square feet and more than 1,000 employees. Our expansion plans are well underway to add a third site in Trinidad
, bringing us over 120,000 square feet. The third site will open in Q4 2021. We are already experiencing significant demand for growth based on our performance and the country’s attractiveness, and its people. That said, we’ll continue to operate at a reduced capacity due to COVID and will continue supporting our work-at-home agents. The expansion to a third site in Trinidad is an investment we’re making based on demand and the future of Trinidad and iQor’s continued collaboration.
iQor has an excellent relationship with InvesTT and the Trinidad Government. We are known for being great neighbors and are focused on improving the lives of those around us and the communities where we operate. When COVID reached the island in 2020, the government quickly implemented social distancing and mask-wearing practices. We moved over 95% of our Trinidad staff to work-at-home within two weeks during the initial days of the pandemic, enabling our employees to continue to work and support the local economy. Additionally, we provided internet stipends to the team, and we continue to do so today.
In 2020, iQor Trinidad was awarded Center of the Year as number one in performance by one of our clients in customer support and sales. We competed against large competitors with nearshore and offshore operations doing the same work. This is a great accomplishment for our Trinidad team and certainly speaks to the quality of our employees and the support we receive from InvesTT in Trinidad.
A Collaborative Relationship
Sekou points out that he’s worked with several people at iQor, starting with Dustin Fleming, Senior Vice President Finance, in Trinidad’s initial selection. Today, Sekou works closely with the local leaders at iQor facilities, emphasizing the safety of our employees.
Trinidad’s Future Is Bright
Sekou is very optimistic about our relationship. He looks forward to our continued growth in Trinidad. He is very confident that the model we have in place is mature, and it allows us to continue to expand in the region, considering the demand we are experiencing.
What Sekou Does for Fun
Sekou is native to Trinidad. He spent about half his life in Canada. He relocated back to Trinidad from Canada and enjoys family activities and spending time outdoors. Of course, he enjoys the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival during non-pandemic times. He also travels to other Caribbean islands. Additionally, Sekou enjoys educating people about Trinidad and Tobago and the opportunities available for businesses and the people to live there.
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