Success Stories

Musician Strums to the Beat as Web Designer

Bryan Brown is SBA Western PA Young Entrepreneur of the Year

PITTSBURGH – A rap session with the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center [SBDC] spun musician and student finance major Bryan Brown from business banker to small business owner.

The then-senior interned for the center assisting entrepreneurs with strategic plans. “Working there was very proactive, hands-on and completely different from what I was learning in classes,” Brown explained. After graduating, Brown employed those same tactics growing his web design business, Responsival, LLC., from a one-man band into a 12-member group in just three years.

His business savvy earned Brown accolades as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Western PA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Brown will receive his award at the University of Pittsburgh’s SBDC C3 (Creating Opportunities, Connecting Resources and Contracting Diversity) event,... Read More

PITTSBURGH – Navy veteran and nuclear engineer Bill Campbell’s one-man engineering crew sailed into entrepreneurship 13 years ago in the basement of his house. Once serving as receptionist, salesman and president, Campbell recently travelled to Washington, D.C to compete for the Small Business Person of the Year award during the 55th annual celebration of U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, April 29-May 5.

Campbell began his quest at the local level, when he was chosen as the Pittsburgh District Office Small Business Person of the Year. The nomination package, compiled by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, then was forwarded to the regional SBA office in Philadelphia to compete with the Eastern Pennsylvania winner to represent the state.

“It’s a great honor,” Campbell said. “I feel very fortunate and respectful to receive such a significant award.”

Today, Campbell, president of WTS, a water treatment and facilities... Read More

ribbon-cutting ceremony

CLAYSVILLE, PA – For four years, baker Lori Polan created homemade, delectable desserts at Claysville’s Main Street Café. When the 56-year-old kneaded some dough to purchase the eatery, she turned to the Washington County Council on Economic Development (WCCED) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Within two months, Polan promoted herself from baker to owner. Her recipe for success: meals made from scratch, a business plan and an SBA microloan. Microloans are an SBA program providing very small loans, up to $50,000, through nonprofit intermediaries to business owners. Last year in Pittsburgh, approximately 41 entrepreneurs received more than $1.34 million in microloans for working capital or any business-related expense.

“This program is enabling Lori to live the American dream of small business ownership sharing her family’s favorite dishes and pies with patrons from the tri-state area,” said SBA Pittsburgh District Director Dr. Kelly Hunt. “The nice... Read More

The Hawley's receiving their award
Restaurateurs Reel In Pittsburgh Small Business Persons of the Year Award

Restauranteurs Lisa and Glenn Hawley like collecting titles. First known for bringing char-grilled fish to the city, they then became Pittsburgh’s fresh-fish experts. Now, the owners of Off the Hook can add another crown; U.S. Small Business Administration’s Western Pennsylvania 2017 Small Business Persons of the Year to their collection.

“It’s quite an honor,” said 57-year-old Glenn Hawley. “I’m both honored and surprised as there are many, many small businesses that are working with SBA and have never won.”

The Hawley’s, who have been serving fresh-fish dishes to Pittsburghers for decades as co-owners of two previous, successful fish restaurants, decided to embark on a new endeavor highlighting all aspects of the cold and warm-water seafood. Their award-winning culinary concept coupled with a rich, social entrepreneurship plan was lauded in a nomination package from Key Bank.

 “This is... Read More