Go Kids Day: A big idea from local entrepreneur
Monday morning a check of $3,000 was given collectively to Hudson schools parent groups. It is the first of perhaps many donations that may be coming to Hudson in support of youth activities by GoKidsDay.com.
The website is the brain child of entrepreneur Bill Veeneman, who has lived in the Twin Cities area nearly thirty years, most recently in Hudson.
Veeneman, who majored in economics and went on to earn a master's in that field, has a keen sense of how to make things easier in the age of technology. He worked at Dayton-Hudson, Target and Macy's until he struck off on his own to become an entrepreneur. He is the inventor of Club Wedd, Target's self-service gift registry and developed the online banking site for U.S. Bank Corp.
"We launched the first online banking site for U.S. Bank," said Veeneman, during a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Recently, Veeneman is turning an eye to helping out small business owners in a way that provides them with a service, but also gives back to the community. Essentially he is creating tools for small businesses to compete online and contribute to building a vibrant local economy.
Hudson, along with River Falls and White Bear Lake, is serving as a pilot community for his newest venture, Go Kids Day Network, which he plans to take nationwide.
"I think they are all communities that could benefit from this," said Veeneman.
"I have been a small business owner so I know how hard it is," said Veeneman. "I thought 'Gee Whiz' maybe we could develop the platform in a way so they can decide what works best for them. They would have more time to run their business."
The goal is to help small businesses survive. Each community can have its own website.
"It is all part of the same philosophy," said Veeneman. "We told all of the businesses that 10 percent of the initial revenue would go back to their communities. You save. We give. It is a good deal for both sides."
While the development of the project has been ongoing for a couple of years the community websites went live in October.
"We are focused on making Hudson the best community it can be," said Veeneman. "I have had a very good career and look forward to doing this."
They have been acknowledged by the UW-RF Institute of Sustainability.
"What I want to do is help communities keep their economic base," said Veenman. "It is a simple model. Bring the technology back to the customer. My target is online. I am going to give those concepts to the small businesses. I can design the tools so the small businesses can compete effectively with the big online retailers."
According the HIBA, the Hudson Independent Business Association, 68 cents of every dollar spent locally stays in Hudson.
"We have to help you, (the business owner) be more efficient because the world is more efficient," said Veeneman.
"If we invest in the community and build the community with the new technology but preserve the retail sector for the next generation it is a win, win for all," said Veeneman, whose goal is to give back a billion dollars to education/youth over the next ten years, nationwide.
Erika Cherrier is the Business and Community Advocate for Go Kids Day Network and Robert Misenko is senior vice president for the business and community development. Misenko is responsible for rolling out Go Kids Day on a national level.
There are presently 43 Hudson businesses participating. You may visit www.gokidsday.com.