ISSUE 25 – Article 4

July 21, 2020


Investment Promotion in a Digital Era

The COVID-19 pandemic delivered a disruptive shock to the global economy, and the economic impact of the pandemic was felt throughout all industries, including the Business Process Outsourcing and Shared Services (BPO/SS) Industry. With the realisation that investor outreach would need to change significantly, at least in the short to medium term, the T&T IFC, opted to host a Virtual Inward Mission from 18th to 22nd May 2020. The mission featured a prospective BPO investor headquartered in Australia that provides a wide range of services in the Business Process Management and Finance & Accounting BPO industries.

During the mission, the company’s Managing Director and Head of Talent and Compliance met and held virtual meetings with nine companies from the telecommunications, legal, banking, recruitment and supports services. These meetings helped the investor to get a better understanding of the local business environment and to assess Trinidad and Tobago’s feasibility as a potential base of operations for their company.

Two Telecommunications services providers had the opportunity to present their product portfolios. Recruitment and Support Services providers were able to provide the investor with in-depth knowledge of the Human Resource (HR) practices in Trinidad and Tobago. Some topics discussed were the administrative costs of operations locally, the structure of employee contracts and statutory requirements for local employees, including payroll and overtime. They also received sample contracts, and HR policies to guide their understanding of the requirements to comply with Trinidad and Tobago’s law; along with the pricing to provide payroll, secretarial, taxation and recruitment services.

The investor’s team also had the opportunity to interview 14 potential job candidates. The initial feedback from the interview was very positive as they were impressed with the quality of the applicants being interviewed.

To get firsthand feedback on the journey and the advantages of setting up operations in T&T, the team met with one of our existing investors. This meeting was very fruitful, and, in the end, the prospective investor was able to access and understand:

  • Their rationale for selection of Trinidad and Tobago as an investment destination,
  • How the company was able to navigate the legal requirements in order to start operations seamlessly in Trinidad, as well as their work-from-home business model,
  • The quality of the Client Services provided by the T&T IFC in assisting with the setup of operations in T&T,
  • The quality of the workforce in accounting and finance, and the unexpected benefit of competitively priced software development talent, and
  • Why Trinidad and Tobago as a destination is cheaper than India for their business model based on high workforce quality and productivity.

The investor also received information on business structures, employment, work permits, trade registration, tax registration and requirements to set up an operation in Trinidad and Tobago.

At the end of the mission, the prospective investor was extremely pleased with the depth of information they received from all the stakeholders.  They stated that they were “impressed with the level of organisation undertaken by the T&T IFC in arranging the virtual mission,” and the willingness of the T&T IFC to rise above the challenges and provide an alternative solution as their visit to T&T could not be facilitated due to global travel restrictions. Given the feedback from the prospective investor, the T&T IFC is encouraged that once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a team will visit T&T to progress discussions in person.