Why Jamaica, the Caribbean’s Silicon Island, is the new tech hub to watch

A rising tide, it is said, lifts all boats. And in tech, the fastest growing industry on the planet, now is a great time to get on board with Jamaica.

The Caribbean country has long been a vacation hotspot for those drawn to its idyllic white-sand beaches and laid-back lifestyle.

Recently, however, “The Rock” has done all it can to position itself not as a solid tourist hotspot, but as the next “Silicon Island” – a nickname that once-developing tech hubs such as Ireland and Taiwan have also earned.

Basic investment

Digitization is not just about infrastructure; it’s a question of talent. In 2021, the Jamaican government proved it knows it by launching its Amber Heart Coding Academy, designed to train thousands of young Jamaicans in software development. But its efforts to position itself in the tech hub race began years earlier with investments in its tech infrastructure as well as education.

Launched in 2019, Jamaica’s Global Services Sector project (a five-year plan) aims to provide Jamaicans with training and access to better jobs in business, knowledge processes and information technology outsourcing.

The challenge has been to attract foreign investment and avoid brain drain among its burgeoning skilled domestic workforce. And so far, the Caribbean’s fourth-largest nation has proven itself to be the tiny island that could.

Why Jamaica?

Proximity to the United States is an essential USP for this nation of only 2.8 million people, as well as the fact that it is an English-speaking territory in a time zone compatible with the United States.

Competitive labor costs are of course a factor that attracts the interest of companies beyond the Americas. At the Nexus 2022 event, for example, a central theme was the growing interest of European technology companies seeking customer experience partners in the Caribbean.

A gem of outsourcing and nearshoring

There are over 85 companies operating in Jamaica with a combined annual turnover of nearly US$1 billion, employing over 60,000 people. In fact, Jamaica has the most mature outsourcing industry in the Caribbean.

Last month, it became the first English-speaking country in the region to host O2LAC, the leading outsourcing summit that aims to further unlock the potential of developing tech countries.

It’s also a close-knit hotspot for U.S. tech companies, with demand for roles in software development, data analytics, cybersecurity and even artificial intelligence supply — a pattern the government hopes to reverse as more trained talent emerges.

Last year, convenience software development company BairesDev recorded an increase in Caribbean tech talent between 2020 and 2022, with an impressive 2,100% growth in hiring in Jamaica. Ibex Global, the digital CX contractor, announced last week the opening of its fifth location in Jamaica, with plans to employ an additional 1,500 people.

For digital nomad tech workers, Jamaica represents an attractive new frontier with a novelty factor in spades. But if the Caribbean island is too big, there are thousands of great roles available closer to home.

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