It’s a great day to be on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, especially when you get to talk about the business of Space!
Alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott, here’s an overview of what we discussed:
- More COVID19 support for business. With the extension of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA), how are companies doing?
- Canada’s big bank accounts. With an apparent excess $170 billion in Canadians’ bank accounts, what’s the story?
- The NASDAQ takes aim against a lack of Board diversity. As study after study demonstrates woeful underrepresentation of women and minorities on corporate Boards and executive offices, were the NASDAQ’s actions justified?
- The Universe and beyond. As China lands a probe on the Moon to explore the terrain and collect samples, what’s next for the business of Space?
As the end of the Fall nears and Winter is upon us, it’s no secret that Canada still has difficult days ahead, in terms of COVID19. With the announcement of a number vaccines and as planning for distribution unfolds, many Canadian businesses are still struggling, especially those that are classified as small. The CEBA program thus far has allowed businesses to obtain a $40,000 loan (of which $10,000 is eligible to be forgiven) and the announcement this week provides an additional $20,000 that can be obtained, 50% of which is eligible to be forgiven. These loans can be used to fund certain business expenses, and to date, almost 800,000 businesses have been approved for a total loan value of $32 billion. These loans can be the difference between companies surviving and not and are important for Canada’s economy; just think about all of the jobs that are associated with 800,000 companies.
Speaking of funding, Canada is experiencing a savings boom, with $170 billion in excess funds on deposit. What is important to remember here is that the profile of Canadians underlying this statistic is varied, as are the reasons for the money. High income Canadians who haven’t travelled or made major purchases represent one group; another is the urban employee who hasn’t incurred the expenses associated with commuting to work; as is the front line, essential worker who hasn’t had time to shop. There are also small businesses that have accessed loan programs, such as CEBA, on a “just in case basis”, which adds to their bank account balance.
There is a forgotten group, however, that likely does not have a large bank account, due to reduced hours or somewhat lower revenue levels, with limited options for support, or perhaps, who are simply doing what they can to earn a living. The point: the profiles of individuals and families underlying this statistic are not the same, and help is still needed. COVID19 has been a very difficult period for many, something that is evident in what can be described as a “quietness” among people; on email and social interactions, for example. It is evident that people have had a lot going on in their lives, on a work, personal, and family level; it is important to keep this in mind.
On another topic, those in the business world who have worked at senior levels understand first-hand how difficult it can be for women and minorities to reach the executive and governance office. The NASDAQ has taken steps to mandate at least some diversity on the Boards of listed companies, to address a wrong that should have been corrected long ago. Bottom line, most of these companies, and many others, have had decades to satisfactorily address this area and have not, despite the fact that, gender diversity, for example, has been proven to yield better performance. This is a story that I will be watching closely, along with similar recommendations for TSX companies.
And finally, what’s more fun than Space? As China lands a lunar probe on the Moon, it is a reminder that humans are explorers at heart. As technological advancements in areas such as the Spacex program, research, communications, and life in Space continue, it is exciting to see significant investment being made to generate even more of an impact. An interesting project is Starlink, poised to bring highspeed internet service to remote locations, including in Canada. Conversely, large telecommunications companies, for the most part, have been less than ideal in addressing what has become essential infrastructure.
At any rate, it would be a lot of fun to do some work with companies that are in the business of space (feel free to be in touch with opportunities!). In the meantime, there’s always memories of cars in space.
Thanks for watching, everyone!