Success Stories

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

photo of Susan Tusick

Unlike Kermit the Frog, for Susan Tusick it’s easy being green. And she wants everyone to share her green state of mind.

Tusick, architect and owner of Tusick and Associates, specializes in helping businesses, non-profit organizations and home owners become environmentally friendly and healthier too. And, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is enabling Tusick to not only add federal agencies to her client roster, but is saving her greenbacks via free, customized training under their 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program.

According to SBA Pittsburgh District Director Dr. Kelly Hunt, Tusick received a green light for her continuing education as a member of the agency’s 8(a) Business Development Program. The nine-year program assists assist eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to develop and grow their business through one-on-one counseling, training workshops and match-making opportunities with federal buyers.

“I knew... Read More

Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, second from left, accepts her award

Instead of tossing, turning and reliving the same nightmare – the inability to fall back asleep after fielding emergency room phone calls -- Dr. Wei-Shin Lai and her husband, Jason, spent those sleepless nights at their kitchen table.

He soldered, while she used a hotel sewing kit to stitch the perfect, non-addictive aid for the sleep deprived who were tired of counting sheep.  SleepPhones® are a unique combination of flat speakers and wires, all housed in a soft, comfortable fleece headband. These simple yet innovative headphones allow those experiencing difficulties sleeping to get some much needed sleep by listening to meditative sounds or music. 

SleepPhones® and its’ complementary exercise headphones, RunPhones®, have Lai, 39, traveling to Washington, D.C. where she will compete for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year. That honor will be announced during the 53rd annual celebration of National Small Business Week.... Read More