Meet Suzy Hrabovsky. She believes that entrepreneurs are the heartbeat of the Sandhills region and has a passion for helping women and other disadvantaged people start businesses. The majority of Suzy’s career has been helping small businesses and is now leading a team that creates programming to assist small business through funding.
Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network (SEEN): What’s your story? Who is Suzy?
Suzy Hrabovsky (SH): I’m a native of Fayetteville, NC. I grew up a military brat, and I’m now a military spouse and mother of two boys; 6 and 4. I currently serve as the Executive Director of CEED, the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development ( a 30 year private 501c3 ). While at
CEED, I continue to work with my passion of helping women and other disadvantaged people to start small businesses. I’ve lead my team in creating programming to assist small businesses which include CEED Capital, a micro lending program grant which includes $1M SBA ILP Provider programming and most recently led a micro loan bridge program with the local city development department that provided loans to 94% minority owned businesses with 64% of those loans going to women.
I came to CEED after her five years as Director of Operations for the Partnership for Innovation (PDI), a business incubation program designed to recruit and establish technologies for in the defense sector. While there, I managed the $1M annual accelerator program as well as the financial management of the $10M IDIQ technology lab contract. I began my career as a Comptroller for the privately held web hosting company, Advanced Internet Technologies (ait.com), where I was able to learn how to assist small businesses by giving them tools and resources to resell space on the internet. In 2019, I was a finalist nominee for the Association of Women Business Centers Leadership Award. I also was named one of Fayetteville’s 40 under 40 by the Fayetteville Observer in 2014 and also took 1st place at the 2014 Dancing with the Fayetteville Stars!
SEEN: What made you become an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for SEEN?
SH: I wanted to connect to other EIRs in the region and connect entrepreneurs to other resources in the area.
SEEN: What impact do you think entrepreneurs and small businesses have on economy in the Sandhills Region?
SH: Entrepreneurs are the heartbeat of our region. They create opportunities for improvement in our communities. They create placemaking opportunities for they communities they live in. They create jobs and improve the value and quality of life around them.
SEEN: If you could give one piece of advice to early-stage entrepreneurs what would it be?
SH: Communication. Talk to people. So many times entrepreneurs have an idea and keep it close hold in fear that someone else will take it. While it is likely, it is more likely that someone is there to help them bring their idea or business to fruition.