24-7 INtouch: 'boutique' call centres ring in growth - Greg and Jeff Fettes win BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Saskatchewan



    REGINA, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Brothers Greg and Jeff Fettes have carved
out a niche for themselves in the highly competitive world of outsourced call
centres. Their company, 24-7 INtouch, has grown steadily, receiving numerous
awards for call centre excellence and quality, and has been ranked by Profit
Hot 50 as one of Canada's top emerging businesses. For their success, Greg,
30, and Jeff, 33, have earned BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Saskatchewan
and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
    Greg and Jeff have combined their business savvy and expertise in
technology to develop an affordable, reliable, quality service for the
small-to-medium and enterprise-level markets. Their operation, which started
out as a small 10-seat call centre serving the local market in 1998, now
numbers between 350 to 500 employees working from offices in Regina, Winnipeg
and Toronto. They provide inbound contact centre services via voice, chat and
e-mail. With the majority of clients based in the U.S., the company serves
businesses ranging from Internet retailers and catalogue companies, to
automotive and restaurant chains.

    Innovative technology makes the difference

    "Our innovative technology is our competitive edge," explains Jeff, who
is Executive Vice- President and Chief Information Officer. "We grew up in the
family's telephone answering business, operated by our parents. When Greg and
I started out, there was a wide gap between telephone answering and large call
centre services. At the time, customers were forced to fit into one of two
areas. The best technology and enhanced services were only attainable by very
large companies with massive budgets and those who couldn't afford this would
have to settle for basic answering services. Our mission was to close that gap
by applying Internet technology to the call centre concept. This meant we
could offer enterprise-level technology to the small-to- midsize market and
make our services affordable to more companies."
    24-7 INtouch also distinguishes itself in the marketplace with its belief
that "people make the difference", a philosophy reflected in its "boutique
contact centre" concept. "By keeping all centres to a maximum of 200 seats, we
maintain our friendly, family-style corporate culture," explains Greg, CEO of
the company. "We believe in putting our people upfront; they are the very
fibre of what we do," he adds. "You can even find photographs of our actual
employees right on our website."
    Looking to the future, the Fettes brothers see great opportunities for
their business. "Our vision is to provide business process outsourcing
solutions to companies large and small," says Greg. "There are many different
directions in which we can go. We plan to expand in the industry and have
seven to ten facilities across Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. We
also plan to enter new markets outside North America, starting in the United
Kingdom."
    "I congratulate Greg and Jeff for their success. They developed an
innovative solution for the highly competitive call centre industry and have
made it grow and prosper," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
    "My advice to other young entrepreneurs is: stick to the plan no matter
how tough it gets," says Greg. "You have to be prepared to have a couple of
tough years, but if you plan well and then stick to it, you will succeed."

    Young entrepreneurs in the spotlight

    BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week,
providing the opportunity to honour the entrepreneurial spirit and business
success of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each province
and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of their
business concept, its success, growth potential and their community
involvement. The panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business
was started and any special challenges that had to be faced.

    Small Business Week partners

    Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Western Economic
Diversification Canada, Export Development Canada and Rogers. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.

    About BDC

    BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada.
BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and
medium-sized businesses through its complementary financial, investment and
consulting solutions. BDC is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2008. Visit
www.bdc.ca for more information.
    Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange for an interview on October 16:
Media Room: 1-866-515-6033, (204) 985-6251; After October 16: Johanne
Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929


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