Freeman Cebu Business

BPO firm’s one-decade journey in the Queen City

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman
BPO firm�s one-decade journey in the Queen City
At that time, the outsourcing company saw it was better to bring its operations to the Philippines and they thought Cebu was the best place to locate the business.

CEBU, Philippines — In 2009, Azpired Inc. decided to move its operations from the US to the Philippines.

At that time, the outsourcing company saw it was better to bring its operations to the Philippines and they thought Cebu was the best place to locate the business.

It started with only one employee in Cebu, recalled Almira Absin, a co-founder of the company and currently sits as its president and chief executive.

During that time, Cebu's business process outsourcing (BPO) industry had started to blossom and eventually become one of the city's major employment generators.

From one agent, it grew to seven, to a hundred and to thousands.

Today, the company employs close to 2,000 Cebuanos as well as locals from the neighboring provinces in Visayas.

It has been, indeed, a tremendous growth for the business.

"We started small," shared Absin in an interview together with the company's chairman, Scott Johnson. "In a year's time, we expanded. Then a couple of years later, we expanded and grew."

Now operating for about a decade in Cebu, Absin firms her optimism on the company's growth prospects moving forward.

She believes Cebu continues to be a magnet for BPO companies, having the right pool of talent, infrastructure and supply of new office spaces.

About two years from now, Azpired will move its headquarters to the soon-to-be completed Cebu Exchange, an office tower developed by Arthaland Corp. and located along Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu City -- just right across the Cebu IT Park.

The company is so far the development's biggest investor that has committed to occupy three floors of the "green" office building scheduled to be completed by 2020.

According to Absin, the company's decision to move to Cebu Exchange will be crucial to the company's future growth.

Currently, the company occupies facilities at the city's main business districts -- Park Centrale in Cebu IT Park and Cebu IT Tower in Cebu Business Park.

Depending on the growth, she said they might retain their existing facilities and that the transfer to Cebu Exchange will be their biggest expansion investment to date.

On being a boss

Absin's realm of expertise as a boss is training and workforce. Such has been instrumental in the company's success in the last decade.

She describes herself as a hands-on boss.

"We're very hands-on," said Absin.

"We work very closely with our clients and employees. And we always try our best. That has been the secret to growing our business," the lady entrepreneur shared.

She said the right pool of talent is key in the outsourcing business.

In fact, their company had been doing trainings for fresh graduates who were eventually employed, saying Cebuanos are highly-trainable and fast learners.

Training is at the heart of their company’s operations.

Absin shared that their employees have gone thought several stages of training before they actually went on board.

For instance, she cited that their people usually go through communication, culture and product trainings.

"When we hire talents we make sure they have the necessary skills and we classify according to their strengths," she said.

Aside from having the right people, Absin also believes success in business also lies on being able to satisfy the needs of the clients.

"It’s very important to be hands-on with your own business and working and talking with the right people," she said.

The firm's clients are companies based in United States, Canada and Australia. Their services include customer service, technical support and accounting services, among others.


In 2016, the Cebu-based company expanded its operations to Cagayan de Oro and now currently employs about 500 there, depending on the demand for services.

The company's decision to expand to CDO was driven by the city's talent availability and presence of a high quality manpower.

In 2017, the outsourcing firm eventually diversified into the travel business when it started Azpired Travel.

Absin said they decided to put up a travel agency after seeing more and more people wanting to travel.

In fact, she saw how her people are enthusiastic about travelling.

Aside from ticketing and hotel reservations, the travel agency also offers tour packages to Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Korea, US, and various destinations in Europe, and accepts passport registration and renewal service as well as visa processing. (FREEMAN)

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