The Virginia Small Business Development Center Network recently announced that Mike Austin was the recipient of the 2021 State Star Award. This award was presented in recognition of the tremendous impact he had both here in Hampton Roads, and throughout the Commonwealth with his work on access to capital.
A life-long resident of Hampton Roads who spent 37 years in the banking industry, Mike began his career in 1979 with United Virginia Bank, when he gained experience and is expertise in small business and SBA lending. His career included stints at Bank of Tidewater, Resource Bank, and finally Fulton Bank.
During over 3 decades of work experience, he reviewed thousands of small business applications and approved hundreds of SBA-backed and bank-direct loans. In addition, Mike became a frequent content expert speaker at local small business training sessions, helped to set up a local microloan fund, and was a member of the Board of Directors for the SBDC of Hampton Roads.
Following retirement in early 2017 he started working on a part-time basis as the Access to Capital Adviser for the SBDC of Hampton Roads. His work with this group greatly expanded in response to the COVID-19 crisis with a focus on the range of SBA-backed loan and grant programs being offered to small businesses throughout the Commonwealth via our statewide network. During this time, he authored hundreds of memoranda and emails to the statewide network that focused on the PPP, EIDL, First Advances, microloans, 7(a) and Express programs, and more recently, the SVOG and RRF grants. In addition, he led numerous webinars designed to help a diverse range of small business owners in Virginia, including restaurants, retailers, and early-education and childcare centers.
In presenting the award, Jody Keenan, the VSBDC State Director noted: “As hard as we tried, no one in the network could come up with a question that Mike could not answer. His advice and counsel to both SBDC staff and their clients was indispensable.”
Mike certainly met his goal in providing straightforward and timely advice to clients and fellow SBDC advisers seeking to navigate the various loan and grant options available to them during these unprecedented and uncertain times.