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October 20, 2016

3rd Annual Women Entrepreneur Forum

The St. Francis College Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the Third Annual Women Entrepreneur Forum featuring three leading New York business women, on October 20, 2016 in the College's Founders Hall.

(Watch Women Entrepreneurs)

The discussion featured Ita Ekpoudom (Founder and CEO, Tigress Ventures), Tanya Van Court (Founders and CEO, iSow), and Isabel Walcott Draves (Founder and President, CrowdFest and Leaders in Software and Arts).

"In 1972 women-owned businesses accounted for only 4.6% of all US companies," said Eda Sanchez-Persampieri, the new Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. "In the following decades, women entrepreneurs made substantial advancements towards equality. Now women-owned businesses account for 38% of all US companies, generating $1.6 trillion in revenue with employee levels approaching 9 million."

women entrepreneur

Sanchez-Persampieri added that the focus of this year's forum was "to educate our learning community regarding these forward strides and to highlight three exemplary women entrepreneurs who have contributed to this forward advancement."

St. Francis College's Center for Entrepreneurship seeks to stimulate and promote entrepreneurial activity in Brooklyn that leads to creation of sustainable socioeconomic value. The Center seeks to create synergistic partnerships with Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs by providing them with access to faculty experts through two channels: value-added programs of research and education that helps the entrepreneur bridge the knowledge gap and providing entrepreneurs with a toolbox of resources through the Center's Open Virtual Incubator. The Center seeks to create socially responsible and robust entrepreneurial activity with its Brooklyn-based business partners.


Ita Ekpoudom, CEO, Tigress Ventures

Ita Ekpoudom is the Founder & CEO of Tigress Ventures, an advisory and consulting firm with a mission to engage, educate, and elevate the next generation of successful female business leaders and investors. Previously, Ita held product management roles at TravelClick and American Express. Ita began her career at Goldman Sachs as an Analyst in Credit Capital Markets and a Trader of Preferred Stock. Ita holds an AB, cum laude, in Psychology, with a certificate in Finance, from Princeton University, and an MBA, with concentrations in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management, from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Tanya Van Court, Founder and CEO , iSow

Tanya Van Court is the Founder and CEO of iSow (, a platform that enables people to give money with meaning and save money with purpose. With a focus on disrupting the broken gift-giving dynamic and simultaneously helping 0-22 year olds understand the true value of money, Sow lets young people establish choose "goals" instead of "goods" in 3 key categories: saving towards the future, sharing with those who are less fortunate, and spending wisely on things that matter.

Prior to her role at Sow, Van Court served as senior vice president of partner marketing at Discovery Education, where she supported educators in their transition to digital learning environments.

Isabel Walcott Draves, Founder and President, CrowdFest

CrowdFest Founder and President Isabel Walcott Draves is an Internet entrepreneur with over two decades of experience managing large research projects, recruiting and interviewing technologists, and organizing topical gatherings. Since 2009, Draves has convened and curated a community of tech artists and creative technologists at Leaders in Software and Art (LISA), her non-profit. Made manifest by a team of 14 dedicated and passionate self-starters, CrowdFest's inaugural Creative Tech Week was held in May 2016 in over 70 venues across New York City.

Draves' background at companies like and The Research Board (a Gartner Company), as well as consulting for startups like Communispace (C Space), Linden Lab (Second Life) and Ember (Silicon Labs) informs her rich experience in market research, competitive intelligence, user experience testing and vendor research. She has conducted tech talent searches for such diverse companies as BCG, the Boston Conservatory of Music, travel startup Upside, and others.

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