The City of Hesperia is taking a proactive approach to assisting the city's small businesses, according to Steve Lantsberger, Hesperia's director of economic development.


"Small business is the backbone of our economy," Lantsberger told members of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce during last Tuesday's monthly luncheon meeting. "It's important for us to retain our small businesses and help them expand."


To assist businesses, Lantsberger's staff has developed several programs. They include "Feet on the Street," which connects department representatives with business owners, "Facade Improvement Program," which provides assistant to businesses seeking a fresh look, "Franchise Founders Program," which provides appropriate incentives to franchises that would complement Hesperia, and "Brokers Incentive Program." The latter includes the opportunity to help provide matching commissions to agents.


Lantsberger also introduced Randy Anderson, a business consultant from the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center, who is available for business counseling sessions for Hesperia entrepreneurs.


Lantsberger also addressed the city's ability to provide "gap financing," which it has done for several new businesses including Pizza Factory and Kid's Planet.


"They must meet development goals," Lantsberger said, adding, "These are not bailouts. They not grants but loans."


Lantsberger also talked about the city's upcoming business workshop at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29.


For more information on the city's Economic Development Department, call 947-1906.