Customer Acquisition Group

JOBS FOR LOCALS: Customer Acquisition Group (CAG) founder Michael Austin, top left, discusses the pilot project with InvesTT president Sekou Alleyne, top centre, and chairman of DirecOne, Peter Gillete, top right, with his team.

INVESTT, in its role as the national investment promotion agency, has facilitated the formation of a partnership between Customer Acquisition Group (CAG) and locally owned contact centre DirecOne for the establishment of a 30-seat pilot project in the outsourcing industry.

CAG, with headquarters in Daytona, Florida, USA, will use Trinidad and Tobago as its base for a telemarketing campaign commissioned by its customers in the deregulated energy industries in the USA.

The business process outsourcing (BPO) company has entered into a joint venture with DirecOne to hire 30 local employees in the first instance to carry out the campaign, with plans to increase to 125 agents within the first year of the project.

Michael Austin, CAG’s founder attributed his successful discovery of Trinidad and Tobago’s location advantages in part to InvesTT’s country marketing.

“I conducted an extensive online search for the right hurricane-free nearshore destination for my project and found InvesTT’s website through Google. Another Caribbean island was also shortlisted but I found that the weather pattern in Trinidad and Tobago and the quality of labour were far better,” said Austin.

The BPO businessman highlighted the country’s location below the hurricane belt to be a better security advantage for his business as well as lower labour costs and an attractive local accent as critical factors in his telemarketing campaign. A developed digital infrastructure was also a key contributor to his decision to choose Trinidad and Tobago.

President of InvesTT, Sekou Alleyne, said of the venture: “The investment contributes to national economic growth through job creation, skills training and foreign exchange and is by far one of the quickest investment closures we’ve had to date.

“We met CAG in November 2021, introduced the company to DirecOne and within a month the contract between the foreign and local parties was signed and they began hiring and training an all-local staff. The telemarketing campaign was launched during the first working week in January.”

BPO companies have been eyeing T&T for some of the same location advantages highlighted by Austin, regardless of the pandemic situation.

During InvesTT’s virtual Trinidad and Tobago Investment Forum held in November 2021, Peter Gillette, chairman of the Gillette Group, which owns DirecOne, lauded the country’s high broadband penetration per household (over 86 per cent), emphasising that this connectivity brought about major advantages for DirecOne when the company had to swiftly pivot to a work-from-home environment.

“DirecOne is proud to be partnered with CAG in the exciting field of deregulated energy. CAG brings professionalism and expertise in the US markets which, combined with DirecOne’s longstanding experience in B2C interactions, is a winning combination for the venture. InvesTT has been instrumental in facilitating this investment in record time. Their targeted digital marketing strategies are beginning to bear fruit in creating interest and inward investment flows in Trinidad & Tobago,” said Gillette.

In a news release yesterday, InvesTT said it played a critical role throughout the project with its top three key functions being:

• Provision of all information required to assess Trinidad & Tobago as a viable BPO investment destination;

• Introduction to local BPO investment partner, which formed a key part of CAG’s market entry strategy;

• Investor site visit support.


THE all-clear has been given by the Appeal Court to CL Financial (CLF) to challenge, at the Privy Council, a previous decision it made relating to the amount of monies owed to its joint liquidators for works carried out in 2019.

The government will not roll back spending on its capital projects even if energy prices remain lower than expected and if it has to run a higher than anticipated budget deficit.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert told a news conference on Monday that capital expenditure is crucial to growing the economy and there will not be any reduction in expenditure in 2023.

Trinidad and Tobago Insurance Company Limited (TATIL), the wholly-owned subsidiary of ANSA Merchant Bank Limited whose ultimate parent is conglomerate ANSA McAL, says it has no plans to change the structure of or re-brand Colfire, which it recently acquired.