Interviewed by: Chukwuemeka Agbata (ChannelsTV TechTrends)

Interviewer: What is Business process outsourcing (BPO)?

Amal Hassan: Business process outsourcing (BPO) involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of a specific business process to a third-party service provider. Companies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia outsource their customer service to mostly third-world countries for a cheaper rate. So, America international clients have been outsourcing to India since 1980.

Interviewer: The Indian outsourcing sector is reported to worth over $150 billion. How can Nigeria take part in this market share?

Amal Hassan: Nigeria has all the requirements to take part in this market share. Nigeria has English as its official language, we have good accents, with excellent technology, manpower, better timeline, talented and educated citizens. This puts Nigeria in a better position than India to Serve the International Market.

Interviewer: So what has prevented us from taking over India in the outsourcing space?

Amal Hassan: Lack of initiative, high capital involved in setting up business process outsourcing, and lack of awareness, Just to mention a few.

Interviewer: The outsourcing business relies so much on technology. Do you have a computer science degree?

Amal Hassan: No, I don’t. I studied Business Administration at Bayero University, Kano. You don’t need to have a degree in computer science to get into Information Technology (IT) business. All you need do is employ people with the Information Technology skills needed for the business.

Interviewer: Looking at your background, why did you decide to go into this industry?

Amal Hassan: In 2005, we started with an Information Technology training centre in Kano where we had trained a lot of IT professionals. We started researching what we could do to provide employment for the youths and women we have trained whilst I was dealing with a lot of Indians at that time. I looked at India and researched on what they did. I found out Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provided over 2.2million jobs and it kept increasing by 15 percent every year. From my research, I discovered we have all the requirements needed to set up a business process outsourcing firm in Nigeria hence, I worked towards establishing my company.

Interviewer: As a woman in technology from the Northern part of the country, what challenges have you faced?

Amal Hassan: The most common challenge I face is balancing family and work- to make sure the both don’t suffer. Also, I found out people do not take women seriously. It is very hard for me as a woman to sell what I do. For instance, prior to my establishment of the company, I met a lot of people for investment and they didn’t believe a company in Nigeria can service the international market.

Another challenge is the environment. It is very difficult to do business in Nigeria as we all know. But for the passion I have to change the country, I am ready to succumb the challenges by providing employment for youths and women in the country. At Outsource Global, more than 50 percent of over 700 employees are women and 90 percent of the team leads are women.

Interviewer: What do you think we can do to encourage more girls in technology and what would you say to leaders/government?

Amal Hassan: By creating more awareness of the need for technology in Nigeria. We need to introduce technology to our primary schools’ system. I was not exposed to technology at a very young age. I got married at a very young age and had my 4 children in Kano. I went to the university as a married woman. It was after marriage my husband encouraged me to learn basic computing skills. In the North, we can introduce more schools, create more awareness so they can even learn IT while conserving its norms and traditions. If the Northern leaders can invest more in training youth and women in Information Technology, we will have more of “Amal Hassan” today.

Interviewer: Finally Amal, as you work towards making Nigeria the premier outsourcing destination. Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?

Amal Hassan: I see Outsource Global providing employment for over 6000 people. We have already opened 3 centres with a plan to opening the fourth one in North East very soon. I will keep on increasing centres based on my client needs. The current clients we have affords us the opportunity to expand our centres for now till next year. We have a stable plan to execute this so you can imagine when we have new clients, they keep expanding because we render better services and efficient delivery.

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