By Kelvin Loyola
As part of our expanding coverage of the global delivery and IT ecosystems in Uruguay, we profile Zonamerica, one of the largest ITO and BPO facilities in the Americas.
Zonamerica, which is located about 45 minutes away from the capital Montevideo and 15 minutes away from Carrasco International Airport, is home to more than 300 outsourcing companies ranging from ITO, pharmaceutical, international shipping, financial services, and contact call centers.
Since opening in 1990 it has grown to 26 buildings on a 230 acre park, with more than 100,000 square meters of surrounding park-like space. It has aimed at attracting companies from the multimedia, biotechnology, call center/BPO/KPO, shared services, consultancy/professonal services, financial, logistics/distribution and software and information Technology industries.
Ease of Doing Business
The office park got its start in 1985, when a group of investors conceived of a new Free Trade Zone in order to attract foreign investment to Uruguay. Among their goals was to make it easier for companies to navigate the Uruguayan bureaucracy, at the time, and provide a place where foreign companies could build a long-lasting foundation for developing technological, commercial, industrial, and service sector jobs.
Today the countries housed at Zonamerica employ more than 8,000 workers, and include business and technology companies such as Web travel giant Sabre Holdings, for whom the Montevideo site, with 550 employees, is the company’s second largest location. Assist Card, which provides travel assistance and insurance in more than 100 countries, and online travel site Despegar.com as well as global service delivery giant Tata Consultancy Services.
It is also the home of many call center operations such as those operated by RCI and Ocwen Financial Corporation, as well as local offices of American-based firms such as Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and KPMG. In recent years smaller outsourcing firms have also located in the park, and it is not uncommon to find marketing and online gaming companies from South America or Europe with offices in Zonamerica.
Out of the Office
Employees looking for a bite to eat can choose from local favorites as well as North American standbys Burger King and Subway. Other services for employees range from health and dental clinics to a pharmacy, an equestrian center and a car wash, as well as a hotel for visitors.
Next up: the opening of the Celeba Building, with another 10,000 square meters of business space housed in a dramatic glass and metal-sheathed exterior. It is in the process of being certified as green building, and is expected to receive a high LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) score, according to the Zonamerica Website.