Enid Regional Development Alliance held its quarterly luncheon and annual meeting Wednesday.
Keynote speaker and founder of BaseConnect app, Tony Weedn, spoke about connecting Enid businesses to Vance military personnel and their spouses.
“I was excited to get the BaseConnect message out locally,” said Weedn.
BaseConnect is a “Facebook for the military,” and connects troops to each other and the local community, said Weedn. The app also features reviews for local businesses, a base phone directory and a newsfeed.
“I do what I do because God has given me a talent that I have to use,” said Weedn. “I care about our military and our troops because that’s where I came from and who I was.”
Weedn said he was in the Air Force and was a flight instructor at Vance.
The app is military and spouses only. Before a person can join the app, they must be verified as active duty, guard, reserve, veteran or spouse. Then, they must be invited by a member of the community. BaseConnect also sends ten special invitations to their app per week, according to their website.
“He jumped out of the Air Force as a Major and jumped into our community,” Executive director of ERDA Brett Kisling said about Weedn.
Weedn said he got his first taste of app fame with celebrateamerica.org which put an overlay of the American Flag over a person’s Facebook photo. Since then, that app has created a flag for every country and donated some proceeds to Syrian Refugees, said Weedn.
“I didn’t want to do the silicon valley corporation,” said Weedn. “I wanted to focus on keeping base in Oklahoma. I want to grow base in Oklahoma. Employ Oklahoma — specifically military spouses.”
Weedn said the urge to help wakes him up every morning. He added that Enid is the perfect first step for BaseConnect because of so many people willing to help work out the kinks of the app and scale it to the next level.
Kisling added Weedn’s business is “truly a mission,” and asked the participants of the luncheon to remember the date they heard of BaseConnect because “one day it will be that big.”
“It’s amazing to see something like this happening in Enid,” said Kisling.
Kisling also talked about ERDA goal to become a billion dollar city by 2025.
“It’s really about a three percent growth here,” Kisling said. “It’s obtainable.”
Kisling said he thinks the solution is to improve quality of life for residents and get more permanent residents in Enid.
Kisling talked about the Youth Entrepreneurship program founded by Koch Industries that is administered at Enid Public School’s. Nationwide it is in 180 classrooms and has 30,000 alumni. Of those graduates, 29 percent started their own businesses verses the national average of 11 percent, said Kisling.
ERDA next event will be for women in business from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. July 19 at Autry Technology Center. Registration is $35. For more information, call (580) 242 – 2750.
BaseConnect is still accepting investors. To contact Weedn, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (580) 297 – 7557.
Story by: Enid News & Eagle
Written by: Sarah Beth Guevara