P.A. also ranks fifth among mid-sized cities in the 2012 report, behind Grand Prairie, Alta., Moose Jaw, Lloydminster and Red Deer, Alta.
The report, titled Communities in Boom: Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities and has come during Small Business Week, covers 14 indicators grouped into three main categories, including presence, perspective and policy for 103 Canadian cities.
“Those are the three things that we want municipal leaders to have top of mind when they are introducing policy changes,” said CFIB vice president of Prairie and Agri-business Marilyn Braun-Pollon.
However, the report concedes that “there is no single best way to measure the entrepreneurship quotient of cities,” making the CFIB’s method of combining a range of approaches to arrive at a series of scores still a highly simplified way of looking at communities.
“It’s not an exact science, but it’s our fifth report. And what we did do this year is we added a couple of indicators,” Braun-Pollon said, noting the addition of number of building permits per capita per 1,000 and life satisfaction.
“We wanted to add a couple of variables to round it out,” Braun-Pollon added. “It’s a way of combining Statistics Canada results but also the perspective of our membership as well.”
The CFIB re-cast the results for 2011 to allow for proper comparisons.
Merle Lacert, CEO of the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce, said the report is largely representative of the current situation in Prince Albert.
“Some of those indicators are pretty evident in Prince Albert, meaning that we’ve seen a lot of growth recently,” Lacert said. “We’ve had a good increase in new business, both large and small.”
Four other Saskatchewan cities also placed in the top 10. Prince Albert finished with an overall score of 59, with a modest 11 points for presence, a moderate 18 points for perspective and a very strong 30 points for policy.
And despite falling by two spots and two points in the overall score from 2011, Lacert noted the more than six per cent increase in growth of new business from between July 2010 and June 2011.
He was also impressed with the result for the area of regulation and paper burden, where only 39 per cent of Prince Albert businesses responded that it was a concern.
“Of all the 14 areas — a lot are similar — what I see Prince Albert standing out in, one was even (regulation and paper burden) … it looks like a good percentage of Prince Albert businesses don’t feel that it is a concern,” he said.
Braun-Pollon noted that the two-place drop is also not a cause for concern.
“(Falling) one or two spots is not a reason for alarm,” she said, noting the high placement of Saskatchewan cities in the annual report. “I think the real question is how do we maintain the momentum … We really wanted to spark a debate of what policies impact small business owners.”