Money and Main Street
5 of 6
Mike Heritage
Heroic act: Giving free office space to small businesses
Position: President, London Real Estate Group
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.

When Mike Heritage ordered his Starbucks latte one day, he was happily surprised at the register: The patron in front of him had paid for his drink.

It's a common occurrence in Colorado Springs, he says, and the generosity inspired him to do his part. The effort ended up much bigger than a latte.

His company, London Real Estate Group, has a 66,244-square-foot mixed-use complex on the north side of town that is only 70% leased. So Heritage is offering up the remaining space as office space for local small businesses -- free of charge.

"We've done well through our 20 years of business, and we thought this was a good way to give back to our community," Heritage says. "Sometimes people need a break to help get them off the ground or out of debt."

First and foremost, he hopes to help small-business owners whose startups aren't getting the financing they need to be viable. "We want to sit down with folks and partner with some businesses that hopefully will be successful and help the community," Heritage says.

The company has received several calls, and it's in talks with a financial planner and a nonprofit medical group, among others. Businesses that take the offer are not required to commit to any contract after the one-year free-rent period is over.

"Whether it's Bush, Obama, or community leaders, those in charge have made it clear we all need to give something back in whatever way we can," Heritage says. "I may not have cash to hand to people, but I have vacant space. I can give that for a while."

"I'd ask everyone in the country: Do something that fits you in order to help," Heritage says. "If everyone does something good for someone else, we can start to turn this economy around." -- J.P.

NEXT: Scott Haag

Last updated April 14 2009: 11:18 AM ET
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