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Success Stories

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

Photo of BreAnna Liberto

Clarion Businesswoman Takes Center Stage as  SBA Pittsburgh Young Entrepreneur of the Year

CLARION, PA – Five years ago, dancer BreAnna Liberto executed the biggest leap of her artistic career– opening the doors to her own performing arts education center. Now, the 23-year-old founder and director of Clarion Center for the Arts is in the spotlight as U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Pittsburgh’s 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Her award-winning community asset, rich in both arts and philosophical education, was lauded in a nomination submitted by the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

“It was a surprise and definitely an honor,” exclaimed Liberto. “I’m excited to begin recognizing the people who have gotten me to this place.”

As part of the celebration, members of the community are welcome to join Clarion Center for the Arts at the 800 Center for the biggest open house event they've ever... Read More

picture of Rose Morris

Pittsburgh Inventor is SBA National Exporter of the Year

PITTSBURGH – The adage “necessity is the mother of invention,” certainly holds true for mother of three Rose Morris – a patent-holder, inventor of The Safety Sleeper™ and winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2017 Exporter of the Year Award.

“It’s overwhelming to learn you just won the whole enchilada for the entire country,” Morris, 45, exclaimed. “I thought it was a mistake, and kept wondering how I could have won.”

Morris, whose son is on the Autism spectrum, found both he and she were suffering from sleep deprivation. “Ten years ago, he was two and started climbing out of his bed; he was like the Energizer Bunny, he just wouldn’t turn off,” she explained. “I had an idea, told a friend what I wanted and he fabricated it for me.”

Her vision, a portable, cocoon-like enclosure over his bed worked. “It reduces stimulation and creates a calming effect, like putting a blanket on... Read More