From weathering sexist comments at meetings to inventing fictional male co-founders to get the attention of investors, women business leaders detailed the sometimes unusual ways they persevere in a male-dominated startup world at a panel discussion.

Laura Berkner, the chief operations officer for the Madison caregiver software company Stimmi, was one of the three startup leaders at “Gender Equality for Tech Entrepreneurs,” a session held at the annual Forward Technology Conference Tuesday afternoon at the Memorial Union.

She said that when she looked for funding and resources for her company, people would constantly refer her to Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, a nonprofit that strives to help women-owned businesses. Referrals to resources without a gender-specific mission weren’t so frequent.

“Everyone kept saying, go to WWIBC. Go to WWIBC. Go to WWIBC,” said Berkner. “It was interesting to see that because we’re female founders, we got female-funneled…I don’t think that my gender (should) determine my opportunity.” Read the full story here.