Continuous learning and professional growth is a pillar of all successful companies and individuals. But finding professional resources such as services and mentorship from industry experts online can be challenging, with several services competing in the same space and offering incomplete or disparate information. KnowledgePost in Cleveland, Ohio, aims to tackle this issue and bridge the disconnect between professionals and professional service providers.
“I recognized the importance of mentorship and career education early on, but I wasn’t finding it—or I found it and it was unreliable,” said Andrew Bennett, co-founder and CEO of KnowledgePost. “The way most platforms are built is like an open directory, the way a Yelp or LinkedIn operate. But there wasn’t the accountability aspect to it, which is what we provided. We’re advisors who’ve vetted and validated an extremely trusted, high-quality network of providers, and we match you with the resources to best serve your personal needs.”
KnowledgePost acts as a broker within the business to business environment to connect professionals with the best possible experts and resources. Professionals in the KnowledgePost network range from consultants and coaches for individuals, to educational institutions and training companies who provide services to large workforces and organizations.
“Think of it like Orbitz versus a travel agency. With a directory like Orbitz.com, you can search for a bunch of places to go and contact hotels and flights directly,” explained Bennett. “But a travel agency handles it all for you and does it better than you could because they have connections. We’re the travel agency. We work as advisors to help set up the engagement for you.”
Bennett’s inspiration for entrepreneurship, specifically surrounding professional service providers, came from his parents, a unique blend of artistic and business savvy. His father is a retired businessman who consulted for large corporations, and his mother was a dance instructor and artist. That’s where he credits his knack for both design and business development.
After graduating from Elon University and gaining experience working at startups like Within3 and Engage! Cleveland, Bennett decided to embark on his own entrepreneurial adventure with KnowledgePost. He enrolled in the accelerator program through the Braintree Business Development Center, a northeast Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, and launched his business in 2013. He then received a grant from the Innovation Fund at Lorain County Community College and around the same time, became a part of the Jumpstart Mentor Network.
“If you want to start a business in Ohio—trust me—just get out there and ask. You’ll find tons of people willing to help out,” said Bennett. “The best part is that if they can’t, they’ll find somebody who can. It’s amazing. Or, connect you to somebody that might have additional knowledge or funding. It’s that Midwest personality of, “I’m going to be candid, at the same time I’m going to be nice and supportive, and then I’m going to do what I can for you.” It’s not sugar-coated, and I really appreciate that mindset.”