Jamaican college nabs major investor partner

The University College of the Caribbean (UCC) located in Jamaica is aggressively advancing its strategic plans to become the first private university college in the Caribbean to go public. This move, it is believed, would address the huge gap between market demand for tertiary education and the enrollment capacity of current institutions in Jamaica and the region.

The UCC has earmarked four major projects for Phase I of its strategic plan which are in the follow ing two sectors : business process outsourcing and training, and export of educational services.

With an investment value of US$6.5M, UCC is seeking to launch the Caribbean Knowledge City, a knowledge park in Lucea, Hanover. The UCC consummated a partnership deal with Indies Pharma, owned by Dr. Guna Muppuri. The park will be located in the former Jockey factor ies, owned by Dr. Muppuri, who will lead the development along with his team. UCC will provide the systems, programs, intellectual capital and management of international partnerships and academic program delivery. An additional investment capital in the amount of US$2M is being sought which will be limited to working capital support.

“This is a great investment for Pharma given the perfonnance of the knowledge services sector in Jamaica,” said Dr. Muppuri. “UCC’s entrepreneurial vision, sound business plan and assets make for an ideal partner,” Muppuri continues.

With an estimated value of US$250 million in 2013, the ICT/Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) sector is a high-performing segment of Jamaica’s services industries. It has enjoyed the highest employment growth rate of any sector in the last decade, and presently accounts for more than 14,000 jobs across the island.

The sector comprises approximately 32 local and foreign-owned companies primarily call centers and BPO, to include, telecoms, banking, insurance and healthcare, tech support, gaming, finance and accounting. Liberalization of the telecommunications sector in 2003, introduction of Cyber Legislation in 2010, revision and introduction of BPO-focused training at the HEART Trust / National Training Agency and various tertiary institutions to create a BPO-ready labour pool and some of the strategies that have created a marketplace for this industry to thrive.

About the UCC

It is the largest private higher education consortium in Jamaica and was established following a merger between the Institute of Management Sciences and the Institute of Management and Production. With 31 years of delivering tertiary training in the Caribbean and partnerships with universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, the UCC is ranked among Jamaica’s top four tertiary institutions. The UCC offers under graduate and graduate level courses, as well as certificate programs in a number of business-related disciplines, including Information Technology, and engineering.

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