Stacy Tuschl, founder of The Academy of Performing Arts in Oak Creek and Franklin, this morning received the Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year award from SCORE and the SBA at the annual Wisconsin’s Small Business Awards Breakfast in Waukesha.
Earlier this week, she was at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s national ceremony for state winners in Washington, D.C.
Tuschl, who wanted to keep dancing after high school, taught poms teams in her parents’ backyard for a few years before becoming an entrepreneur. She opened her own studio in 2005, and eventually had a large enough client base to build a new facility, The Academy for Performing Arts in Oak Creek.
In 2013, she used an SBA-backed loan from U.S. Bank to open a Franklin location, and in 2018 she gained an SBA 7(a) loan to expand the Oak Creek studio.
The Academy of Performing Arts now is a “seven-figure” business with 50 employees and more than 1,000 students.
“I’m honored to be chosen as Wisconsin’s Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration,”Tuschl said. “SBA-backed lending helped expand the Academy of Performing Arts to meet growing demand by our student dancers and musicians, which led to even greater business success. I’m truly living the dream of making my passion my livelihood.”
“We are extremely proud to honor America’s most successful small businesses during National Small Business Week,” said Linda McMahon, head of the SBA. “These small business owners have shown tremendous dedication and perseverance. They are the job creators that fuel our economy and best represent the nation’s 30 million small businesses.”
Also awarded at the event were:
Small Business Development Center Excellence & Innovation Award: Danielle Campeau, Katherine Fossler and Julie Fronmueller of the Small Business Development Center at University of Wisconsin-River Falls;
Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award: Karman Briggs of the Western Wisconsin Women’s Business Center;
Small Business Legal Assistance: Kristin Roeper of Godfrey & Kahn S.C.;
Financial Services Champion: Joanne Freitag of Parrish and Freitag Ltd.;
Minority Small Business Champion: Jessica Cavazos of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County;
Veterans Small Business Champion: Curtis Schmitt Jr. of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce;
Women in Business Champion: Laura Gallagher of The Creative Co.;
SCORE Wisconsin Mentor of the Year: Joan Burke of SCORE-Southeast Wisconsin Chapter;
Emerging Small Business: Nicole Centeno of K9 Kibble LLC;
Family-Owned Small Business: Ruth Johnston & Matthew Johnston of Croix Gear;
Young Entrepreneur: Ben Caya of Spike Brewing;
8(a) Graduate of the Year: Manish Dotson of Nisha Group LLC;
Small Business Exporter of the Year: Doug Buch of PaveDrain LLC;
Region V Small Business Subcontractor of the Year: David Reiter, A to Z Machine Co. Inc.;
Dwight D. Eisenhower Award-Manufacturing: Bridgette Lorrigan-Schuh, Alyssa Hopfensperger and Travis Schmuhl of Oshkosh Defense LLC.