Dr Guna Muppuri (right), head of Bioprist Knowledge Parks, accepts keys to the former Jockey International facilities from Dalton Taylor of Jockey at a press conference in Lucea last Friday, where plans to transform the facilities into BPO operations were announced. (PHOTO: PHILLIP LEMONTE)
LUCEA, Hanover – OVER 2,000 people are expected to gain employment in Hanover within the next year, when Bioprist Knowledge Parks, which has acquired two properties formerly operated as 807 garment factories by Jockey International, opens the first business process outsourcing operation (BPO) in the parish.
The two facilities sit on over 30 acres of land in the communities of Sandy Bay and Lucea, respectively.
According to Dr Guna Muppuri, head of Bioprist Knowledge Parks, if everything goes according to plan, 2,000 seats should be ready to facilitate BPO operations at the former garment factory in Sandy Bay, as early as 12 months’ time.
“The size of the infrastructure there [in Sandy Bay] is 90,000 square feet, which can accommodate 2,000 seats, which means if we can have JAMPRO [Jamaica Investment Promotions] to negotiate with some good company that can take the entire facility, we can create employment for 2,000 people in Sandy Bay,” Muppuri said.
“The plans are in the pipeline, negotiations are going on with several interested companies, which are at a very sensitive stage at this point. We are positive that within the next 12 months to 15 months it must be up and running, it will be going live,” he added.
He also disclosed that in the second phase, BPO operations should kick in at the plant situated on the over 20-acre property in Lucea, at least a year after the Sandy Bay start-up.
Meanwhile, an enthused Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams said JAMPRO would be willing to ensure the success of the project.
“This being actually a new investment and one with great potential given the fact that it is situated in a part of the island where there is a lot of talent coming out of the universities and also the colleges and especially HEART [Trust/NTA], JAMPRO will definitely be more than willing to engage themselves in making sure that this investment is successful,” Ffolkes Abrahams said.
Meanwhile, Yoni Epstein, who was recently reinstated unopposed as president of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), described the acquisition by Dr Muppuri as “monumental”, noting that the venture will positively impact employment.
“I think that is tremendous for Hanover, it is tremendous for Jamaica for the continued growth of the BPO sector,” Epstein said.
They were speaking last Friday in Lucea, where the keys to the old Jockey factories were handed over by Dalton Taylor of Jockey to Dr Muppuri.
In the meantime, Hanover custos Dr David Stair has described the acquisition as “the changing of an era”.
“Today is indeed a special day in the history of Hanover. Today marks the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. It’s a handover from Jockey to Dr Muppuri and his company Bioprist. I’m looking forward to the substantial benefits that will accrue from this substantial investment,” Dr Stair remarked.
Jockey commenced operations in Hanover in 1985, employing over 600 people, before closing down some five years ago.
Published Date: May 7th, 2015
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