Podcast: Real estate surprises, keeping COVID-19 off planes, Black entrepreneurship in Ottawa

In this Behind the Headlines podcast episode, OBJ publisher Michael Curran speaks with OBJ editor Peter Kovessy and special guest Kevin Bourne about some of the week’s biggest news stories.

This is an edited transcript of the panel discussion. To hear the full interview, please watch the video above. Prefer an audio version of this podcast? Listen to it on SoundCloud or Spotify:

CURRAN: Peter, one of the biggest ongoing economic stories is about the local housing market. What’s the big update for this week?

KOVESSY: The housing market came roaring back in June even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with sales last month on par with where they were in 2019. What’s interesting is as housing prices continue to rise, some experts are suggesting we might see a bit of relief in the second half of the year. Buyers are jumping back into the market sooner than sellers, so we might start to see some relief as more homes come onto the market. 

CURRAN: Spartan Bioscience was also making news this week, announcing a deal with Air Canada for its COVID-19 test. Can you tell us about that and what it might mean for the airline industry? 

KOVESSY: This is significant for two big reasons. Spartan Bioscience did hit a bit of a bump in the roll out of its COVID-19 tests earlier this year so this is a big show of confidence in the Ottawa company. What’s really exciting is the potential for the airline industry. If Air Canada and other airlines can ensure that no one aboard an airplane has COVID-19, that can go a long way towards restoring passenger confidence and get people flying again. 

CURRAN: Kevin, you wrote a piece for OBJ recently about what it’s like to be a Black entrepreneur in Ottawa. Can you share some of your experiences with us and what business leaders can do to support the Black community in Ottawa?

BOURNE: If you have an online conversation with someone about the city and city building or business and then you meet them in person, they don’t typically expect a Black person to have those interests. Or, oftentimes when I go to business events, I’m the only Black person in the room. It’s the same for other local entrepreneurs and professionals. It’s unfortunate but because of that, we’ve learned to kind of stick to our own community because of those experiences. 

There are a lot of causes and organizations that need help and support. I wrote about Black Boys Code, a local chapter of a bigger organization that teaches young Black boys to code and engages them in the tech space.

Making a statement about diversity is also essential. I know a lot of places are hesitant because they can be held accountable in the future, but it’s an important step for businesses.