Oct 15, 2010 7:25 PM by Zach Thaxton

Forbes ranks Colorado #4 for business; local leaders agree

Forbes Magazine this week listed Colorado fourth in the nation in its 'Best States for Business' rankings.  Utah earned top honors on the list.  Southern Colorado business leaders say they agree that Colorado is among the best states in the nation for running a business.

Mike Kazmierski, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation, says, "We're not surprised.  I think people know Colorado is a great place for business." 

Colorado's high ranking is thanks, in large part, to a number 15 ranking for regulatory environment, number 9 ranking for quality of life, number 6 ranking for economic climate and growth prospects, and top ranking in the nation for labor supply.

"If you've got a good workforce, that workforce then allows the company to be successful," Kazmierski says, "so our quality workforce really is what puts us at the top of that list."  Margaret Sabin, President and CEO of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, says, "We're in the enviable position of being able to pick from the best of the best, and as a result, we perform better as a business."  Sabin oversees operations and more than 4,000 employees at Penrose Main Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, and St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City.  "They could go anywhere in the country, and they come here."

Hindering Colorado's prospects for reaching the top of Forbes list is its number 33 ranking in cost of doing business.  "The cost of doing business at the end of the day is critically important and we're ranked 33 there, so we want to be careful," Kazmierski says.  Sabin, who moved to Southern Colorado from Northern California two years ago, says success in the business sector depends on small businesses.  "If you have a flourishing environment for small business, all boats rise with that, even the big employers," Sabin says.

Colorado is preceded by Virginia and North Carolina on the list.  Other western states join Colorado and Utah in the top 12, including Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.


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