TORONTO — Listening to Mark Jones speak, one would surmise that the best decision he has ever made was visiting Jamaica in 2007.
Four years later, the Chairman of Global Gateway Solutions, a call centre firm, has investments in companies employing approximately 1,000 Jamaicans in real estate, financial services and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
At the JAMPRO-sponsored, “Invest in Jamaica: The Toronto Forum”, on Thursday June 23 in Toronto, Canada, he praised the “exceptional quality of the Jamaican talent pool”, while giving potential investors a firsthand perspective of doing business in Jamaica.
In a presentation entitled, “Jamaica: Your Global Gateway”, Mr. Jones pointed out that business opportunities in Jamaica are quite extraordinary but, strangely, unknown. He noted that while capital is over-valued in Jamaica, human talent is the most under-valued asset.
Mr. Jones explained that Global Gateway is able to hire senior Operations Managers with 10 to 15 years experience, who can manage 100 to 200 workers, for about US$25,000 a year in Jamaica. This compares with US$125,000-$150,000 in North America.
Highlighting the attributes of Jamaican workers, Mr. Jones mentioned their competitiveness, noting “a relentless and broad based focus on achieving”, as well as their creativity and confidence in putting ideas on the table.
“As an investor you will be a big fish. Your investment can be impactful, and how you choose to leverage that impact is up to you,” he told the potential investors.
Mr. Jones’ commitment to Jamaica goes way beyond business, as he and his family are also involved in several charities, one of which has donated approximately 5,000 computers to 450 schools.
“More recently we have formed technology and service clubs in high schools and, today, we have about 2,300 high school students who come twice a week, on their own time, to learn more about technology and to do community service projects oriented towards technology,” he said.
The JAMPRO Investment Forum highlighted Jamaica as the ideal destination to invest in a number of areas, including the Caymanas Economic Zone, airports and aerodromes, a Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee facility, business process outsourcing, software development, agro-processing, nutraceuticals, limestone-based goods, light manufacturing and contract assembly.
By CAROLYN GOULBOURNE-WARREN, JIS Reporter