'There's never been a better time for women entrepreneurs': Female founders talk business in Jacksonville

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By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville women founders and executives gathered Friday to celebrate International Women's Day and exchange strategies for navigating the workplace.

Despite the fact that women received only 2.2 percent of venture capital funds in the U.S. last year, several speakers at PS27's Female Founders Forum – including Baptist Health System Vice President Catherine Graham and University of North Florida Entrepreneurship Center Director Karen Bowling – believe now is the best time to be a woman in the workforce.

About 7,000 of Baptist's 11,000 employees are women, Graham noted, and women are finding ways around male-dominated chokepoints through crowdfunding, direct-to-consumer sales channels and more, said PS27 Director Jim Stallings.

Ashley Wong, founder of San Francisco-based Gemnote, shares the sentiment that now is the best time for women entrepreneurs. Wong has navigated the hurdles both of raising venture funds and of being a woman founder in the tech industry, and she is one of the few female founders to go through the ultra-competitive Y Combinator accelerator program.

Her company helps clients like Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Slack send premium, customized gifts that boost employee retention and customer acquisition. Click here to continue reading.