Off to Nicaragua next week…

I will be visiting a couple of call centers in Nicaragua next week in an effort to get a handle on the industry there.

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Members of a Nicaraguan BPO Organization I recently visited.

I have not done any business in Nicaragua and it presents some very interesting opportunities and possibilities for my clients. The Contact Center industry has literally exploded in recent years, and interestingly enough, I have not had the opportunity to visit our neighbor to the North, however it is clear that Nicaragua is coming…

Honduras too, where the project with Grupo Karims has been canceled for now, is showing a lot of promise. Mercury Communications, in particular has impressed me as a comer. Mercury is a young organization, run by Manfred Alvarez, a visionary young entrepreneur. Honduras is a true Green Field opportunity with tons of young talent, low cost and high unemployment rates, that will provide great opportunities for those interested in near shore development.

dscn0135.JPGMercury is one of those small, entrepreneurial companies that has the combination of cache, energy and opportunity. It will be interesting to watch them grow.

In the interim, Grupo Karims moves on to other projects, having temporarily abandoned the contact center project.

I have no doubt that they will be successful in their other projects, and that the success of smaller, more flexible companies like Mercury, will lead them back to the Contact Center project, eventually.

Back to the subject of Nicaragua. I see Nicaragua facing a number of challenges, including an obvious concern on the part of North American Companies to the Ortega Government, energy problems and other issues.

Nicaragua remains however an interesting alternative to Costa Rica and Panama, the two nearby Call Center Giants. Nicaragua is a participant in CAFTA or the TLC as it is known here in Central America. The big Costa Rican Public Sector Unions and the PAC, continue to fight tooth and nail against its adoption in Costa Rica. While the Sandinista Party speaks out in Nicaragua against the TLC, Nicaragua’s Investment Promotion Agency, slyly uses Nicaragua’s adoption of the treaty as ammunition to recruit North American Investment.

There are some fairly aggressive entrepreneurs in Nicaragua as well. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I will be in Nicaragua Monday and Tuesday of next week.

The following week I will be back in Nicaragua and then in Honduras the 15-17th.

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The Business Adventures of an Expat Call Center Guru in Costa Rica