Specialised in software development, Corel Corporation has set up a Center of Excellence in Mauritius and intends to recruit some 200 Mauritians. Kamal Srinivasan, Senior Vice President Of Product Development of Corel, talks to Investor’s Mag about the company’s expansion strategy.
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How does a company of Corel’s stature decide to establish operations in Mauritius?
Being strategically anchored on the African continent, the Government of Mauritius has spared no effort to implement a business-friendly environment and policies, offering world-class infrastructure and local universities providing tailor-made training facilities that suit our needs. Based on this background, it is no surprise that we have selected Mauritius to establish our Center of Excellence since it best aligns with our growth strategy.
Of course, as a leading player in software development with globally recognised brands, Corel has undertaken extensive research before deciding to set up our new Center of Excellence in Mauritius, where the exceptional talent pool on the island was a key motivating factor. I must say that the ‘expansion to Mauritius’ route in the form of research took us an entire year, and today, we have made the right decision by looking at the unique attributes of Mauritius, including its business-supportive environment and impressive labour market.
What will the Center of Excellence’s responsibilities be?
Our Center of Excellence is located at our brand-new premises at Nexsky, Ebène, offering a state-of-the-art workplace. Given our group’s ambitions and looking at the team members recruited to date through our partnership with Bolt Talent Solutions, I can say that we are rapidly growing our presence in Mauritius, hiring for roles in R&D, support, and operations working across our core brands, CorelDRAW, MindManager, Parallels, and WinZip.
Our Center of Excellence will effectively play a leading role in building, maintaining, and supporting our state-of-the-art technology and world-class products on the local shores while, at the same time, leveraging on our innovative solutions, including Corel’s next generation of creative, collaborative, and productive solutions to help serve global markets and customers.
“I must say that the ‘expansion to Mauritius’ route in the form of research took us an entire year.”Kamal Srinivasan | Senior Vice President of Product Development | Corel Corporation
Before beginning its hiring phase to hire 200 Mauritian citizens, the company was introduced to students at Universities. What has been the progress and feelings thus far?
Each time Corel’s senior executives have visited Mauritius from Canada and the US, we have made it a point to engage with local universities. We have had a number of discussions on the likely areas where we can collaborate in terms of offering opportunities to students with internships as well as starting their careers. Helping to equip them as they graduate by familiarising them with our products. We are also looking at ways and means to collaborate in terms of licenses and how we can work together to provide courses developed to our mutual benefit. I can tell you that we are making great progress with our recruitment plans, and we look forward to playing a significant role in the local economy and the tech community.
What kinds of skills is Corel seeking for?
We are looking for a range of skills to support our business, with technical skills including knowledge of programming languages such as Python and C++, for example, depending on the job roles. Beyond the technical skills, we look out for certain attributes such as authenticity, grit – where there is always room to make mistakes and persevere – simplicity, inquisitiveness, and accountability. As a product-led company, we are keen to blend innovation with the human touch.
Right now, we are hiring across a wide range of roles, such as R&D, engineering, QA testing, and operations. I would like to underline that although we are targeting 200 hires, our operation will not be a call center. We are rather referring to capabilities on the need to understand technology from an IT administration perspective. What I mean here is the IT solutions support helps debug software when an issue is raised by our customers. The kind of profile Corel is looking at is the right mix of leaders, individual contributors and freshers, entailing fresh graduates who are already starting their careers with us.
If Mauritius is Corel’s first foray into Africa, should we anticipate future expansion on the continent?
As mentioned, we at Corel are striving to hire approximately 200 staff locally, where the Center of Excellence will help support our expansion and diversification across the African tech industry.
Our center forms part of our Africa strategy rationale, where Mauritius offers the possibility to grow our team and will allow us to tap into this area within the continent from the people, technology, and talent standpoint to grow in a robust manner and to help us develop some of the products. Our products are built for a global market. The Mauritius team will continue to build the Corel product portfolio, which serves all markets. In terms of business, we have every intention of bringing our products to Africa through the Mauritius conduit through both presence and local talent, thus allowing us the opportunity to understand the market reality better through a ground reality check. In short, the philosophy of ‘People First’ is embedded at Corel before trying to conduct business.
In the future, we can see there will be huge product expansion in the African market and potential talent across the continent to help serve our markets in this geography.