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Fort Wayne, Ind. – The City of Fort Wayne's Community Development Division's UEA-SEED Manager, Nikeshia Fomby, has been selected as part of the inaugural cohort of the Make Startups Executive Fellowship (MSEF) Program. This exclusive initiative aims to elevate the impact potential and operational capacity of entrepreneurship support, ecosystem building, and economic development organizations as entrepreneurial ecosystem builders.


The Make Startups Executive Fellowship is a six-month intensive program funded by a $50,000 grant from the Ecosystem Builder Leadership Network (EBLN) Field Advancement Fund, awarded in November 2023. The program aims to empower executives through two in-person immersions, bi-weekly online training sessions, one-on-one advising, peer coaching, and local field-building initiatives.

Fellows will develop expertise in accessing Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding to support entrepreneurs in their ecosystems. Make Startups offers training, technical resources, and access to their CoFounderOS technology platform, enabling leaders to integrate measurement and evaluation plans into their programs to showcase the impact of entrepreneurial training on the local economy. The fellowship will also prepare participants to advocate for policies supporting entrepreneurial pursuits at local, state, and national levels.

Only 18 visionaries were chosen from across 50 states to participate in Make Startups and were selected for the inaugural MSEF Executive Fellowship Program. Each participant, has a minimum of five years of experience in entrepreneurship development, embodies a strong commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship and a steadfast dedication to creating lasting economic impact.

Nikeshia Fomby is the Community Development Manager for the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED)/City of Fort Wayne and Director of FuseNEI, an interactive entrepreneur resource platform. Prior to her current position, Fomby worked for over 20 years in various social services sectors, including the Indiana Family Social Services Administration, Fort Wayne Housing Authority, and Parkview.

Fomby is also a board member of the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce, a steering committee member for Gateways for Growth (Amani Family Services), a member of the Greater Fort Wayne Women's Network, Young Leaders Northeast Indiana (YLNI), and the National Black MBA Association. Additionally, she is a Build Institute Facilitator and a member of Greater Fort Wayne's Leadership Fort Wayne class of 2024.

For more information about the Make Startups Executive Fellowship (MSEF) Program visit  https://www.makestartups.com/fellowship.